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HISTORY 


OF   THE 


Thirty-Ninth  Congress 


UNITED  STATES. 


By    WILLIAM    H.    BAKNES,    A.M., 

AUTHOR   OF    "THE   BODY   POLITIC." 


WITH     P  0  RTRAITS. 


NEW     YORK: 

HARPER     &     BROTHERS,     PUBLISHERS, 

3  27    to    335„PEARL    STREET. 

iS  68. 


Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1868,  by 

WILLIAM    H.    BARNES, 

Tn  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  District 

of  Columbia. 


PREFACE. 


THE  history  of  the  Thirty-Ninth  Congress  is  a  sequel 
to  that  of  the  Rebellion.  This  having  been  over- 
thrown, it  remained  for  Congress  to  administer  upon  its 
effects.  It  depended  upon  the  decisions  of  Congress 
whether  the  expected  results  of  our  victories  should  be 
realized  or  lost. 

Now  that  the  work  of  the  Thirty-Ninth  Congress  stands 
forth  complete,  people  naturally  desire  to  know  some- 
thing of  the  manner  in  which  the  rough  material  was 
shaped  into  order,  and  the  workmanship  by  which  the 
whole  was  "fitly  joined  together."  It  can  not  be  said 
of  this  fabric  of  legislation  that  it  went  up  without  "the 
sound  of  the  hammer."  The  rap  of  the  gavel  was  often 
heard  enforcing  order  or  limiting  the  length  of  speeches. 

Discussion  is  the  process  by  which  legislation  is 
achieved ;  hence  ho  history  of  legislation  would  be  com- 
plete without  presenting  the  progress  of  debate  prepar- 
atory to  the  adoption  of  important  measures.  The  ex- 
planation of  what  our  legislators  did  is  found  in  what 
they  said.  Debates,  as  presented  in  the  following  pages, 
are  by  necessity  much  abridged.  No  attempt  has  been 
made  to  give  a.  summary  or  synopsis  of  speeches.  That 
which  seemed  to  be  the  most  striking  or  characteristic 
passage  in  a  speech  is  given,  in  the  words  of  the  orator. 

Many  things  said  and  done  in  the  Thirty-Ninth  Con- 
gress, of  great  importance  to  the  nation,  are  by  neces- 
sity omitted.      The   reader,   in   forming    his    opinion  of 


ii  PREFACE. 

Congressional  character  and  ability,  will  bear  in  mind 
that  those '  who  speak  most  frequently  are  not  always 
the  most  useful  legislators.  Men  from  whom  no  quo- 
tation is  made,  and  to  whom  no  measure  is  attributed 
in  the  following  pages,  may  be  among  the  foremost  in 
watchfulness  for  their  constituents,  and  faithfulness  to 
the  country. 

If  it  should  seem  that  one  subject  —  the  negro  ques- 
tion—  occupied  too  much  of  the  time  and  attention  of 
Congress,  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  this  subject 
was  thrust  upon  Congress  and  the  country  by  the  issue 
of  the  Rebellion,  and  must  be  definitely  and  finally 
settled  before  the  nation  can  be  at  rest.  "Unsettled 
questions  have  no  pity  on  the  repose  of  mankind." 

No  attempt  has  been  made  to  jfresent  a  journal  of 
Congressional  proceedings,  giving  a  detail  of  what  was 
said  and  done  from  day  to  day  in  the  Senate  and  the 
House.  There  was  always  some  great  national  question 
under  consideration  in  one  or  the  other  House,  forming 
an  uninterrupted  series  of  discussions  and  transactions. 
To  present  these  in  review  is  to  give  a  history  of  the 
Thirty-Ninth  Congress,  since  they  distinguish  it  from  all 
its  predecessors,  and  make  it  historical. 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  I.— Opening  Scenes. 

(Page  13-21.) 

Momentous  Events  op  the  Vacation — Opening  of  the  Senate — Me. 
Wade — Mr.  Sumner — Mr.  Wilson — Mr.  Harris — Edward  McPherson — 
As  Clerk  op  the  preceding  Congress,  he  calls  the  House  to  order — 
Interruption  of  Roll-call  by  Mr.  Maynard — Remarks  by  Mr.  Brooks — 
His  Colloquy  with  Mr.  Stevens — Mr.  Colfax  elected  Speaker — His 
Inaugural  Address — The  Test  Oath. 


CHAPTER  II. — Locations  of  the  Members  and  Cast  op  the 

Committees. 

(Page  22-32.) 

Importance  of  surroundings — Members  sometimes  referred  to  by  their 
seats — Senator  Andrew  Johnson — Seating  of  the  Senators — Drawing 
in  the  House — The  Senate  Chamber  as  seen  from  the  Gallery — Dis- 
tinguished Senators — The  House  of  Representatites — Some  prominent 
characters — Importance  of  Committees — Difficulty  in  their  appoint- 
ment— Important  Senate  Committees — Committees  of  the  House. 


CHAPTER  III. — Formation  op  tiie  Joint  Committee  on 
Reconstruction. 

(Page  33-49.) 
Lack  of  Excitement — Cause — The  Resolution — Dilatory  Motions — Yeas 
and  Nays — Proposed  Amendments  in  the  Senate — Debate  in  the  Sen- 
ATE — Mr.  Howard — Mr.  Anthony — Mr.  Doolittle — Mr.  Fessenden — 
Mr.  Saulsbury — Mr.  Hendricks— Mr.  Trumbull — Mr.  Guthrie — Pas- 
sage of  the  Resolution  in  the  Senate — Yeas  and  Nays — Remarks  of 
Mr.  Stevens  on  the  Amendment  of  the  Senate — Concurrence  of  the 
House — The  Committee  appointed. 
1 


iv  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  IV. — Suffrage  in  the  District  of  Columbia. 

(Page  50-94.) 

Duty  of  Congress  to  legislate  for  the  District  of  Columbia — Suffrage 
Bill  introduced  into  the  House — Speech  by  Mr.  Wilson — Me.  Boyer — 
Mr.  Schofield — Mr.  Kelly — Mr.  Rogers — Mr.  Farnsworth — Mr.  Dayis 
— Mr.  Chanler — Mr.  Bingham — Mr.  Grinnell — Mr.  Kasson — Mr.  Ju- 
lian— Mr.  Thomas — Mr.  Darling — Mr.  Hale's  Amendment — Mr.  Thayer 
— Mr.  Van  Horn — Mr.  Clarke — Mr.  Johnson — Mr.  Boutwell. 


CHAPTER  V.— The  Freedmen. 

(Page  95-103.) 

Necessities  of  the  Freedmen — Committee  in  the  House — Early  Move- 
ment by  the  Senate  in  behalf  of  Freedmen — Senator  Wilson's  Bill — 
Occasion  for  it — Mr.  Cowan  moves  its  reference — Mr.  Reverdy  John- 
son  ADVISES  DELIBERATION — A  QUESTION   OF  TIME  WITH    Mr.   SHERMAN — Mr. 

Trumbull  promises  a  more  efficient  bill — Mr.  Sumner  presents  proof 

OF   THE   BAD    CONDITION    OF   AFFAIRS    IN    THE    SOUTH — Mr.    COWAN    AND    Mr. 

Stewart  produce  the  President  as  a  witness  for  the  defense — Mr. 
Wilson  on  the  testimony — "Conservatism" — The  bill  absorbed  in 
greater  measures. 

CHAPTER  VI. — TnE  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  in  the  Senate. 

(Page  104-137.) 

The  Bill  introduced  and  referred  to  Judiciary  Committee — Its  provis- 
I0NS — Argument  of  Mr.  Hendricks  against  it — Reply  of  Mr.  Trumbull 
— Mr.  Cowan's  Amendment — Mr.  Guthrie  wishes  to  relieve  Kentucky 

FROM  THE  OPERATION  OF  THE  BILL — Mr.  CrESWELL  DESIRES  THAT  MARYLAND 
MAY  ENJOY  THE  BENEFITS  OF  THE  BILL — Mr.  CoWAN's  GRATITUDE  TO  GoD  AND 

Friendship  for  the  Negro— Remarks  by  Mr.  Wilson—"  The  short  gen- 
tleman's long  speech" — Yeas  and  Nays — Insulting  title. 


CHAPTER  VII. — The  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  in  the  House. 

(Page  138-157.) 
The  Bill  Reported  to  the  House— Mr.  Eliot's  Speech— History — Mr. 
Dawson  vs.  the  Negro — Mr.  Garfield — The  Idol  broken — Mr.  Taylor 
counts  the  Cost — Mr.  Donnelly's  Amendment — Mr.  Kerr — Mr.  Mar- 
shall on  White  Slavery — Mr.  Hubbard — Mr.  Moulton — Opposition 
from  Kentucky — Mr.  Ritter — Mr.  Rosseau's  Threat — Mr.  Shanklin's 
Gloomy  Prospect — Mr.  Trimble's  Appeal — Mr.  McKee  an  exceptional 
Kentuckian — Mr.  Grinnell  on  Kentucky — The  Example  of  Russia — 
Mr.  Phelps — Mr.  Skellabarger's  Amendment— Mr.  Chanler— *Mr. 
Stevens'  Amendments — Mr.  Eliot  closes  the  Discussion — Passage  of  the 
Bill — Yeas  and  Nays. 


CONTENTS  v 

CHAPTER  VIII. — Tiie  Senate  and  the  Veto  Message. 

(Page  158-187.) 
Mr.  Trumbull  on  the  Amendments  of  the  House — Mr.  Guthrie  exhibits 
feeling — Mr.  Sherman's  deliberate  Conclusion — Mr.  Henderson's  sov- 
ereign remedy — Mr.  Trumbull  on  patent  medicines — Mr.  McDougall  a 
white  man — Mr.  Reverdy  Johnson  on  the  power  to  pass  the  Bill — Con- 
currence of  the  House — The  Veto  Message — Mr.  Lane,  of  Kansas — His 
efforts  for  delay — Mr.  Garrett  Davis — Mr.  Trumbull's  reply  to  the 
President — The  question  taken — Yeas  and  Nays — Failure  of  passage. 


CHAPTER  IX. — The  Civil  Rights  Bill  in  the  Senate. 

(Page  188-219.) 
Duty  of  Congress  consequent  upon  the  Abolition  of  Slavery — Civil  Rights 
Bill  introduced — Keference  to  Judiciary  Committee — Before  the  Sen- 
ate— Speech  by  Mr.  Trumbull — Mr.  Saulsbury — Mr.  Van  Winkle — Mr. 
Cowan — Mr.  Howard — Mr.  Johnson — Mr.  Davis — Conversations  with 
Mr.  Trumbull  and  Mr.  Clark — Reply  of  Me.  Johnson — Remarks  by  Mr. 
Morrill — Mr,  Davis  "wound  up" — Mr.  Guthrie's  Speech — Mr.  Hen- 
dricks— Reply  of  Mr.  Lane — Mr.  Wilson — Mr.  Trumbull's  closing  re- 
marks— Yeas  and  Nays  on  the  passage  of  the  Bill. 


CHAPTER  X. — The  Civil  Rights  Bill  in  the  House  op 
Representatives. 

(Page  220-244.) 
The  Bill  referred  to  the  Judiciary  Committee  and   reported  back — 
Speech  by  the  Chairman  of  the  Committee — Mr.  Rogers — Mr.  Cook — 
Mr.  Thayer — Mr.  Eldridge — Mr.  Thornton — Mr.  Windom — Mr.  Shel- 

LABARGER — Mr.     BrOOMALL — Mr.     RAYMOND — Mr.     DELANO — Mr.     KERR — 

Amendment  by  Mr.  Bingham — His  Speech — Reply  by  his  Colleague — 
Discussion  closed  by  Mr.  Wilson — Yeas  and  Nays  on  the  passage  of 
the  Bill — Mr.  Le  Blond's  proposed  title — Amendments  of  the  House 
accepted  by  the  senate. 


CHAPTER  XL— The  Civil  Rights  Bill  and  the  Veto. 

(Page  245-293.) 
Doubts  as  to  the  President's  Decision — Suspense  ended — The  Veto  Mes- 
sage— Mr.  Trumbull's  Answer — Mr.  Reverdy  Johnson  defends  the 
Message — Rejoinder — Remarks  of  Mr.  Yates — Mr.  Cowan  appeals  to 
the  Country — Mr.  Stewart  shows  how  States  may  make  the  Law  a 
Nullity — Mr.  Wade — Mr.  McDougall  on  Persian  Mythology — Mr.  J. 
H  Lane  defends  the  President — Mr.  Wade — The  President's  Col- 
lar— Mr.  Brown — Mr.  Doolittle — Mr.  Garrett  Davis — Mr.  Sauls- 
bury — Yeas  and  Nays  in  the  Senate — Vote  in  the  House — The  Civil 
Rights  Bill  becomes  a  Law. 


vi  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  XII. — The  Second  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill 
becomes  a  Law. 

(Page  294-306.) 
The  Discovery  of  the  Majority — The  Senate  Bill — The  House  Bill — 
Its  Provisions — Passage  of  the  Bill — Amendment  and  Passage  in  the 

Senate Committee  of  Conference — The  Amendments  as  Accepted— 

The  Bill  as   Passed— The  Veto— The   Proposition   of   a   Democrat 

Accepted Confusion  in  Leadership — Passage  of  the  Bill  over  the 

Veto — IT  Becomes  a  Law. 


CHAPTER  XIII.— First  Words  on  Reconstruction 

(Page  307-323.) 
Responsibility  of  the  Republican  Party — Its  Power  and  Position — Ini- 
tiatory Step — Mr.  Stevens  speaks  for  himself — Condition  of  the  Rebel 
States — Constitutional  Authority  under  which  Congress  should  act — 
Estoppel— What  Constitutes  Congress— The  First  Duty— Basis  of  Rep- 
resentation— Duty  on  Exports — Two  important  Principles— Mr.  Ray- 
mond's Theory— Rebel  States  still  in  the  Union— Consequences  of  the 
Radical  Theory— Conditions  to  be  required— State  Sovereignty — Rebel 
Debt— Prohibition  of  Slavery— Two  Policies  contrasted— Reply  of  Me. 
Jenckes— Difference  in  Terms,  not  in  Substance— Logic  of  the  Con- 
servatives LEADS  TO  THE  RESULTS  OF  THE  RADICALS. 


CHAPTER  XIV.— The  Basis  of  Representation  in  the  House. 

(Page  324-572.) 
First  work  of  the  Joint  Committee— The  Joint  Resolution  proposing  a 
Constitutional  Amendment— Mr.  Stevens'  reasons  for  speedy  action- 
Protracted  Discussion  commenced — Objections  to  the  Bill  by  Mr.  Rog- 
ers—Defense by  Mr.  Conkling— Two  other  Modes— How  States  might 
Evade  the  Law — Not  a  Finality — Wisconsin  and  South  Carolina- 
Amendment  for  Female  Suffrage  proposed — Orth  on  Indiana  and  Mas- 
sachusetts—Obscuration of  the  Sun— More  Radical  Remedy  desired— 
A  Kentuckian  gratified — Citations  from  the  Census — Premium  for 
Treason— White  Slaves— Power  to  amend  well-nigh  exhausted— Ob- 
jections to  the  Suffrage  Basis— "Race"  and  "Color"  ambiguous— Con- 
dition of  the  Question — Recommitted — Final  Passage. 


CHAPTER  XV.— The  Basis  of  Representation  in  the  Senate. 

(Page  373-114.) 

The  Joint  Resolution  goes  to  the  Senate— Counter-proposition  by  Mr. 
Sumner— He  Speaks  Five  Hours— Mr.  Henderson's  Amendment— Mr. 
Fessenden— Mr.  Henry  S.  Lane— Mr.  Johnson— Mr.  Henderson— Mr. 


CONTENTS.  vii 

Clark's  Historical  Statements — Fred.  Douglass'  Memorial — Mr.  Wil- 
liams— Me.  Hendricks — Mr.  Chandler's  "Blood-letting  Letter" — 
Proposition  of  Mr.  Yates — His  Speech — Mr.  Buckalew  against  New 
England — Mr.  Pomeroy — Mr.  Sumner's  second  Speech — Mr.  Doolittle 
— Mr.  Morrill — Mr.  Fessenden  meets  Objections — Final  Vote — The 
Amendment  defeated. 


CHAPTER  XVI. — Representation  of  the  Southern  States. 

(Page  417-433.) 

Concurrent  Resolution — A  "Venomous  Fight" — Passage  in  the  House — 
The  Resolution  in  the  Senate — "A  Political  Wrangle"  deprecated — 
Importance  of  the  Question — "A  Straw  in  a  Storm" — Policy  of  the 
President — Conversation  between  two  Senators — Mr.  Nye's  Advice 
to  Rebels — "A  Dangerous  Power" — "Was  Mr.  Wade  once  a  Seces- 
sionist?"— Garrett  Davis'  Programme  for  the  President — "Useless 
yet  Mischievous" — The  Great  Question  settled. 


CHAPTER  XVII. — The  Reconstruction  Amendment  in  the 

House. 

(Page  434-451.) 

A  Constitutional  Amendment  proposed  and  postponed — Proposition  by 
Mr.  Stewart — The  Reconstruction  Amendment — Death  of  its  Prede- 
cessor LAMENTED OPPOSITION  TO  THE  DISFRANCHISEMENT  OF  REBELS "  THE 

Unrepentent  Thirty-three" — Nine-tenths  reduced  to  One-twelfth — 
Advice  to  Congress — The  Committee  denounced — Democratic  and  Re- 
publican Policy  compared — Authority  without  Power — A  Variety  of 
Opinions — An  Earthquake  predicted — The  Joint  Resolution  passes 
the  House. 


CHAPTER  XVIII. — The  Reconstruction  Amendment  in  the 

Senate. 

(Page  452-455.) 

Difference  between  Discussions  in  the  House  and  in  the  Senate — Mr. 
Sumner  proposes  to  postpone — Mr.  Howard  takes  Charge  of  the  Amend- 
ment— Substitutes  proposed — The  Republicans  in  Council — The  Dis- 
franchising Clause  stricken  out — Humorous  Account  by  Mr.  Hendricks 
— The  Pain  and  Penalties  of  not  holding  Office — A  Senator's  Piety 

appealed  to howe  vs.  doolittle marketable  principles praise  of 

the  President — Mr.  McDougall's  Charity — Vote  of  the  Senate — Con- 
currence in  the  House. 


viii  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  XIX. — Report  of  the  Committee  on  Reconstruction. 

(Page  466-472.) 
Ax    IMPORTANT    STATE    PAPER — WORK    OF    THE    COMMITTEE — DIFFICULTY    OF  ' 

obtaining  information— Theory  of  the  President  —  Taxation  and 
Representation — Disposition  and  doings  of  the  Southern  People — 
Conclusion  of  the  Committee — Practical  Recommendations. 


CHAPTER  XX. — Restoration  op  Tennessee. 

(Page  473-482.) 
Assembling  of  the  Tennessee  Legislature— Ratification  of  the  Constitu- 
tional Amendment — Restoration  of  Tennessee  proposed  in  Congress — 
The  Government  of  Tennessee  not  Republican — Protest  against  the 
Preamble— Passage  in  the  House— New  Preamble  proposed— The  Presi- 
dent's Opinion  deprecated  and  disregarded — Passage  in  the  Senate — 
The  President's  Approval  and  Protest — Admission  of  Tennessee  Mem 
bers — Mr.  Patterson's  Case. 


CHAPTER  XXI.— Negro  Suffrage. 

(Page  483-501.) 
Review  of  the  preceding  action— Efforts  of  Mr.  Yates  for  Unrestricted 
Suffrage— Davis's  Amendment  to  Cuvier — The  "Propitious  Hour" — 
The  Mayor's  Remonstrance — Mr.  Willey's  Amendment — Me.  Cowan's 
Amemdment  for  Female  Suffrage — Attempt  to  out-radical  the  Rad- 
ICALS Opinions  for  and  against  Female  Suffrage — Reading  and  Writ- 
ing as  a  Qualification— Passage  of  the  Bill— Objections  of  the  Presi- 
ded  Two  Senators  on  the  Opinions  of  the  People — The  Suffrage 

Bill  becomes  a  Law. 


CHAPTER  XXII. — The  Military  Reconstruction  Act. 

(Page  502-551.) 

Proposition  by  Mr.  Stevens — "Piratical  Governments"  not  to  be  recog- 

NIZED The  Military  Feature  introduced — Me.  Schofield's  Dog — The 

Only  Hope  of  Mr.  Hise— Conversation  concerning  the  Reconstruction 
Committee— Censure  of  a  Member — A  Military  Bill  Reported — War 
Predicted — The  "Blaine  Amendment" — Bill  passes  the  House — In  the 
Senate — Proposition  to  Amend — Me.  McDougall  desires  Liberty  of 
Speech— Mr.  Doolittle  pleads  for  the  Life  of  the  Republic— Mr. 
Sherman's  Amendment— Passage  in  the  Senate— Discussion  and  Non- 
concurrence  in  the  House— The  Senate  unyielding — Qualified  Con- 
currence of  the  House— The  Veto — "The  Funeral  of  the  Nation" — 
The  Act — Supplementary  Legislation. 


CONTENTS.  ix 

CHAPTER  XXIII.— Other  Important  Acts. 

(Page  552-560.) 

Equalizing  Bounties — The  Army — The  Department  of  Education — South- 
ern Homesteads — The  Bankrupt  Law — The  Tariff — Reduction  of  Taxes 
— Contracting  the  Currency — Issue  of  Three  Per  Cents. — Nebraska 
and  Colorado — Tenure  of  Office. 


CHAPTER  XXIV.— TnE  President  and  Congress. 

(Page  561-567.) 

The  President's  treatment  of  the  South — First  Annual  Message — Mr. 
Sumner's  Criticism — The  President  triumphant — He  damages  his  Cause 
— Humor  of  Mr.  Stevens — Vetoes  overridden — The  Question  submitted 
to  the  People — Their  Verdict — Summary  of  Vetoes — Impeachment — 
Charges  by  Mr.  Ashley — Report  of  the  Committee. 


CHAPTER  XXV.— Personal. 

(Page  568-576.) 

Contested  Seats — Mr.  Stockton  votes  for  Himself — New  Jersey's  loss 
of  two  Senators — Losses  of  Vermont — Suicide  of  James  H.  Lane — 
Death  in  the  House — General  Soott — Lincoln's  Eulogy  and  Statue — 
Mr.  Sumner  on  Fine  Arts  in  the  Capitol — Censure  of  Mr.  Chanler — 
Petition  for  the  expulsion  of  Garret  Davis — Grinnell  assaulted  by 
Rousseau — The  Action  of  the  House — Leader  of  the  House. 


Biographical  Sketches 577 


LIST  OF  PORTRAITS. 


PAGE 

1. — Hon.  Schuyler  Colfax,  ....        Frontispiece. 

2. — Hon.  Thaddecs  Stevens, 29 

3. — Hon.  William  D.  Kellet, 59 

4. — Hon.  Sidney  Clarke, 89 

5. — Hon.  Thomas  A.  Hendricks, 109 

6.— Hon.  Henry  Wilson, 135 

7. — Hon.  Samuel  C.  Pomeeoy, 171 

8. — Hon.  Reverdy  Johnson, 203 

9. — Hon.  James  F.  Wilson, 239 

10. — Hon.  Willlvm  M.  Stewart, 275 

11. — Hon.  Ebon  C.  Ingersoll, 307 

12. — Hon.  Eobert  C.  Schence, 353 

13. — Hon.  Richard  Yates, 399 

14. — Hon.  Edwin  D.  Morgan, 453 

15. — Hon.  William  B.  Stokes,       ......       481 

16. — Hon.  George  H.  Williams, 517 

17. — Hon.  John  Conness,        .......       541 

18. — Hon.  James  M.  Ashley, 567 


INTRODUCTORY. 


By   HON.   SCHUYLER   COLFAX, 

SPEAKER  OF  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES. 

THE  CONGRESS  that  has  just   passed  away  has  written  a 
record  that  will  be  long  remembered  by  the  poor  and  friend- 
less, whom  it  did  not  forget.    Misrepresented  or  misunderstood  by 
those   who   denounced   it  as    enemies,  harshly  and  unjustly  criti- 
cised by  some  who  should  have  been  its  friends,  it  proved  itself 
more  faithful  to  human  progress  and  liberty  than  any  of  its  prede- 
cessors.    The  outraged  and  oppressed  found  in  these  congressional 
halls  champions  and  friends.     Its  key-note  of  policy  was  protection 
to   the  down-trodden.      It  quailed  not  before  the  mightiest,   and 
neglected  not  the  obscurest.     It  lifted  the  slave,  whom  the  nation 
had   freed,  to  the  full  stature   of  manhood.      It   placed    on    our 
statute-book  the  Civil  Rights  Bill  as  our  nation's  magna  charta, 
grander  than   all   the  enactments  that  honor  the  American  code; 
and  in  all  the  region  whose  civil  governments  had  been  destroyed 
by  a  vanquished  rebellion,  it  declared  as  a  guarantee  of  defense 
to  the  weakest   that  the  freeman's  hand  should   wield   the  free- 
man's ballot;   and  that  none  but  loyal  men  should  govern  a  land 
which  loyal  sacrifices  had  saved.     Taught  by  inspiration  that  new 
wine  could  not  be  safely  put  in  old  bottles,  it  proclaimed  that 
there  could  be  no  safe  or  loyal  reconstruction  on  a  foundation  of 
unrepentant  treason  and  disloyalty. 

The  first  session  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  proposed,  as  their 
plan  of  Reconstruction,  a  Constitutional  Amendment.     It  was  a 


1%  INTRODUCTORY. 

bond  of  public  justice  and  public  safety  combined,  to  be  embodied 
in  our  national  Constitution,  to  show  to  our  posterity  that  patriot- 
ism is  a  virtue  and,  rebellion  is  a  crime.  These  terms  were 
more  magnanimous  than  were  ever  offered  in  any  country  under 
like  circumstances.  They  were  kind,  they  were  forbearing,  they 
were  less  than  we  had  a  right  to  demand ;  but  in  our  anxiety,  in 
,our  desire  to  close  up  this  question,  we  made  the  proposition. 
How  was  it  received  ?  They  trampled  upon  it,  they  spat  upon 
it,  they  repudiated  it,  and  said  they  would  have  nothing  to  do 
with  it.  They  were  determined  to  have  more  power  after  the 
rebellion  than  they  had  before. 

When  this  proposition  was  repudiated,  we  came  together  again, 
at  the  second  session  of  the  same  Congress,  to  devise  some  other 
plan  of  reconstruction  in  place  of  the  proffer  that  had  been  spurned. 
We  put  the  basis  of  our  reconstruction,  first,  upon  every  loyal  man 
in  the  South,  and  then  we  gave  the  ballot  also  to  every  man  who 
had  only  been  a  traitor.  The  persons  we  excluded,  for  the  present, 
from  suffrage  in  the  South,  were  not  the  thousands  who  struggled 
in  the  rebel  army,  not  the  millions  who  had  given  their  adhesion 
to  it,  but  only  those  men  who  had  sworn  allegiance  to  the  Con- 
stitution and  then  added  to  treason  the  crime  of  perjury. 

Though  we  demand  no  indemnity  for  the  past,  no  banishment, 
no  confiscations,  no  penalties  for  the  offended  law,  there  is  one 
thing  we  do  demand,  there  is  one  thing  we  have  the  power  to 
demand,  and  that  is  security  for  the  future,  and  that  we  intend 
to  have,  not  only  in  legislation,  but  imbedded  in  the  imperishable 
bulwarks  of  our  national  Constitution,  against  which  the  waves 
of  secession  may  dash  in  future  but  in  vain.  We  intend  to  have 
those  States  reconstructed  on  such  enduring  corner-stones  that 
posterity  shall  realize  that  our  fallen  heroes  have  not  died  in 
vain. 


THE  •  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER  I. 

OPENING    SCENES. 


Momentous  Events  of  the  Vacation— Opening  of  the  Senate— Mr. 
Wade— Mr.  Sumner— Mr.  Wilson— Mr.  Harris— Edward  McPherson— 
As  Clerk  of  the  preceding  Congress,  he  calls  the  House  to  order- 
Interruption  of  Roll-call  by  Mr.  Maynard— Remarks  by  Mr.  Brooks— 
His  Colloquy  with  Mr.  Stevens— Mr.  Colfax  elected'  Speaker— His 
Inaugural  Address— The  Test  Oath. 

THE  Thirty-ninth  Congress  of  the  United  States,  convened 
in  the  Capitol  at  Washington  on  the  fourth  of  December, 
1865.     Since  the  adjournment  of  the  Thirty-eighth  Con- 
gress,  events  of  the   greatest  moment    had    transpired— events 
which   invested  its   successor  with  responsibilities  unparalleled 
in  the  history  of  any  preceding  legislative  body. 

Abraham  Lincoln,  sixteenth  President  of  the  United  States, 
had  been  slain  by  the  hand  of  the  assassin.  The  crime  had 
filled  the  land  with  horror.  The  loss  of  its  illustrious  victim 
had  veiled  the  nation  in  unaffected  grief. 

By  this  great  national  calamity,  Andrew  Johnson,  who  on 
the  fourth  of  March  preceding  had  taken  his  seat  simply  to 
preside  over  the  deliberations  of  the  Senate,  became  President 
of  the  United  States. 

Meanwhile  the  civil  war,  which  had  been  waged  with  such 
terrible  violence  and  bloodshed  for  four  years  preceding,  came 
to  a  sudden  termination.  The  rebel  armies,  under  Generals 
Lee  and  Johnston,  had  surrendered  to  the  victorious  soldiers 

(13) 


14  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

of  the  United  States,  who  in  their  generosity  had  granted  to 
the  vanquished  terms  so  niild  and  easy  as  to  excite  universal 
surprise. 

Jefferson  Davis,  Alexander  H.  Stephens,  and  some  other 
leaders  in  the  rebellion,  had  been  captured  and  held  for  a  time 
as  State  prisoners ;  but,  at  length,  all  save  the  "  President  of  the 
Confederate  States "  were  released  on  parole,  and  finally  par- 
doned by  the  President. 

The  President  had  issued  a  proclamation  granting  amnesty 
and  pardon  to  "all  who  directly  or  indirectly  participated  in 
the  rebellion,  with  restoration  of  all  rights  of  property,  except 
as  to  slaves,"  on  condition  of  their  subscribing  to  a  prescribed 
oath.  By  the  provisions  of  this  proclamation,  fourteen  classes 
of  persons  were  excepted  from  the  benefits  of  the  amnesty 
offered  therein,  and  yet  "  any  person  belonging  to  the  excepted 
classes"  was  encouraged  to  make  special  application  to  the 
President  for  pardon,  to  whom  clemency,  it  was  declared,  would 
"  be  liberally  extended."  In  compliance  with  this  invitation, 
multitudes  had  obtained  certificates  of  pardon  from  the  Presi- 
dent, some  of  whom  were  at  once  elected  by  the  Southern  people, 
to  represent  them,  as  Senators  and  Representatives,  in  the  Thirty- 
ninth  Congress. 

The  President  had  further  carried  on  the  work  of  reconstruc- 
tion by  appointing  Provisional  Governors  for  many  of  the  States 
lately  in  rebellion.  He  had  recognized  and  entered  into  com- 
munication with  the  Legislatures  of  these  States,  prescribing 
certain  terms  on  which  they  might  secure  representation  in 
Congress,  and  recognition  of  "  all  their  rights  under  the  Consti- 
tution." 

By  these  and  many  other  events  which  had  transpired  since  the 
expiration  of  the  preceding  Congress,  the  legislation  pertaining 
to  reconstruction  had  become  a  work  of  vast  complexity,  involv- 
ing principles  more  profound,  and  questions  more  difficult,  than 
ever  before  presented  for  the  consideration  and  solution  of  men 
assembled  in  a  legislative  capacity. 

At  twelve  o'clock  on  the  day  designated  in  the  Constitution 
for  the  meeting  of  Congress,  the  Senate  assembled,  and  was  called 
to  order  by  Hon.  Lafayette  S.  Foster,  President  pro  tempore. 
Senators  from  twenty-five  States  were  in  their  seats,  and  answered 
to  their  names.     Rev.  E.  H.  Gray,  Chaplain  of  the  Senate,  in- 


OPENING  SCENES.  15 

voked  the  blessing  of  Almighty  God  upon  Congress,  and  prayed 
"  that  all  their  deliberations  and  enactments  might  be  such  as  to 
secure  the  Divine  approval,  and  insure  the  unanimous  acquies- 
cence of  the  people,  and  command  the  respect  of  the  nations  of 
the  earth." 

Soon  after  the  preliminary  formalities  of  opening  the  Senate 
had  transpired,  Benjamin  F.  Wade,  Senator  from  Ohio,  inaugu- 
rated the  labors  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress,  and  significantly 
foreshadowed  one  of  its  most  memorable  acts  by  introducing  "  a 
bill  to  regulate  the  elective  franchise  in  the  District  of  Columbia." 

The  Senate  signified  its  willingness  to  enter  at  once  upon  active 
duty  by  giving  unanimous  consent  to  Mr.  Sumner,  Senator  from 
Massachusetts,  to  introduce  a  number  of  important  bills.  The 
measures  thus  brought  before  the  Senate  were  clearly  indicative 
of  the  line  of  policy  which  Congress  would  pursue.  The  bills 
introduced  were  designed  "  to  carry  out  the  principles  of  a  re- 
publican form  of  government  in  the  District  of  Columbia ;"  "  to 
present  an  oath  to  maintain  a  republican  form  of  government  in 
the  rebel  States;"  "to  enforce  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution 
abolishing  slavery;"  "to  enforce  the  guarantee  of  a  republican 
form  of  government  in  certain  States  where  governments  have 
been  usurped  or  overthrown." 

Senator  Wilson,  of  Massachusetts,  was  not  behind  his  distin- 
guished colleague  in  his  readiness  to  enter  upon  the  most  laborious 
legislation  of  the  session.  He  introduced  "a  bill  to  maintain  the 
freedom  of  the  inhabitants  in  the  States  declared  in  insurrection 
by  the  proclamation  of  the  President  on  the  first  of  July,  1862." 

Senator  Harris,  of  New  York,  long  known  as  one  of  the  ablest 
jurists  of  his  State,  and  recently  an  eminent  member  of  the  Sen- 
ate's Judiciary  Committee,  directed  attention  to  his  favorite  field 
of  legislative  labor  by  introducing  "  a  bill  to  reorganize  the 
Judiciary  of  the  United  States." 

While  the  Senate  was  thus  actively  entering  upon  the  labors 
of  the  session,  a  somewhat  different  scene  was  transpiring  in  the 
other  end  of  the  Capitol. 

Long  before  the  hour  for  the  assembling  of  Congress,  the  halls, 
the  galleries,  and  corridors  of  the  House  of  Representatives  were 
thronged  with  such  crowds  as  had  never  before  been  seen  at  the 
opening  of  a  session.  The  absorbing  interest  felt  throughout  the 
entire  country  in  the  great  questions  to  be  decided  by  Congress 


16  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

had  drawn  great  numbers  to  the  Capitol  from  every  quarter  of 
the  Union.  Eligible  positions,  usually  held  in  reserve  for  certain 
privileged  or  official  persons,  and  rarely  occupied  by  a  spectator, 
were  now  filled  to  their  utmost  capacity.  The  Diplomatic  Gal- 
lery was  occupied  by  many  unskilled  in  the  mysteries  of  diplo- 
macy ;  the  Reporters'  Gallery  held  many  listeners  and  lookers 
on  who  had  no  connection  with  newspapers,  save  as  readers. 
The  "floor"  was  held  not  only  by  the  "members,"  who  made 
the  hall  vocal  with  their  greetings  and  congratulations,  but  by  a 
great  crowd  of  pages,  office-seekers,  office-holders,  and  unambitious 
citizens,  who  thronged  over  the  new  carpet  and  among  the  desks. 

The  hour  having  arrived  for  the  assembling  of  Congress, 
Edward  McPherson,  Clerk  of  the  last  House  of  Representatives, 
brought  down  the  gavel  on  the  Speaker's  desk,  and  called  the 
House  to  order.  The  members  found  their  seats,  and  the  crowd 
surged  back  up  the  aisles,  and  stood  in  a  compact  mass  in  the 
rear  of  the  last  row  of  desks. 

Edward  McPherson,  who  at  that  moment  occupied  the  most 
prominent  and  responsible  place  in  the  nation,  had  come  to  his 
position  through  a  series  of  steps,  which  afforded  the  country  an 
opportunity  of  knowing  his  material  and  capacity.  A  graduate 
of  Pennsylvania  College  in  1848,  editor,  author,  twice  a  Con- 
gressman, and  Clerk  of  the  House  of  Representatives  in  the 
Thirty-eighth  Congress,  he  had  given  evidence  that  he  was 
reliable.  Having  shown  himself  a  thoroughly  conscientious  man 
in  the  performance  of  all  his  public  duties,  the  great  interests 
of  the  nation  were  safe  in  his  hands. 

The  country  had  been  greatly  concerned  to  know  how  the 
Clerk  would  make  up  the  Roll  of  the  House,  and  whether  the 
names  of  members  elect  from  the  late  rebellious  States  would  be 
called  at  the  opening  of  the  session.  If  this  should  be  done, 
the  first  step  would  be  gained  by  the  Representatives  of  those 
States  toward  holding  seats  in  Congress  to  which  the  majority 
at  the  North  considered  them  not  entitled.  It  had  even  been 
intimated  that  the  color  of  constitutionality  which  they  would 
gain  from  recognition  by  the  Clerk  would  be  used  to  justify  an 
assertion  of  their  claims  by  force.  What  the  Clerk  would  do,  as 
master  of  the  rolls  and  presiding  officer  of  the  House,  was  not 
long  in  doubt. 

The  Clerk  proceeded  to  call  the  roll  of  Representatives  elect, 


OPENING  SCENES.  17 

while  the  subordinates  at  the  desk  took  note  of  the  responses. 
He  called  the  names  of  Congressmen  from  the  States  of  Maine, 
New  Hampshire,  Vermont,  Massachusetts,  and  so  forth,  in  a 
certain  order  which  had  been  customary  time  immemorial  in 
naming  the  States.  In  this  order  Tennessee  had  place  after 
Kentucky  and  before  Indiana.  "When  the  name  of  the  last 
Representative  from  Kentucky  had  been  called,  the  decisive 
moment  arrived.  The  delegation  from  Tennessee  were  on  the 
floor,  ready  to  answer  to  their  names.  The  Clerk  passed  over 
Tennessee  and  went  direct  to  Indiana.  As  soon  as  the  first 
member  from  Indiana  had  responded,  there  arose  a  tall,  black- 
haired,  dark-faced  figure,  that  every  body  recognized  as  Horace 
Maynard,  of  Tennessee.  He  shook  his  certificate  of  election  at 
the  Clerk,  and  began  to  speak,  but  the  gavel  came  down  with  a 
sharp  rap,  and  a  firm,  decided  voice  was  heard  from  the  desk, 
"The  Clerk  declines  to  have  any  interruption  during  the  call 
of  the  roll."  The  roll-call  then  proceeded  without  further  inter- 
ference to  the  end.  "When,  at  last,  the  Clerk  had  finished  his 
list  of  Representatives  and  Territorial  Delegates,  Mr.  Maynard 
once  more  arose.  "The  Clerk  can  not  be  interrupted  while 
ascertaining  whether  a  quorum  is  present,"  says  the  presiding 
officer.  The  count  of  the  assistants  having  been  completed,  the 
Clerk  announced,  "  One  hundred  and  seventy-six  members  hav- 
ing answered  to  their  names,  a  quorum  is  present."  Mr.  Morrill 
immediately  moved  that  the  House  proceed  to  the  election  of 
Speaker.  "Before  that  motion  is  put,"  said  Mr.  Maynard, 
again  arising.  The  Clerk  was  ready  for  the  emergency,  and 
before  Mr.  Maynard  could  complete  his  sentence,  he  uttered  the 
imperative  and  conclusive  words,  "  The  Clerk  can  not  recognize 
as  entitled  to  the  floor  any  gentleman  whose  name  is  not  on  this 
roll."  A  buzz  of  approbation  greeted  the  discreet  ruling  of  the 
Clerk.  The  difficult  point  was  passed,  and  the  whole  subject  of 
the  admission  of  Southern  Representatives  was  handed  over 
intact,  to  be  deliberately  considered  after  the  House  should  be 
fully  organized  for  business. 

Mr.  Morrill,  in  moving  to  proceed  to  the  election  of  a  Speaker, 
had  forgotten  or  neglected  to  demand  the  previous  question,  and 
thus  cut  off  debate.  Mr.  James  Brooks,  most  plausible  in  address, 
and  most  ready  in  talk  on  the  side  of  the  minority,  saw  the  point 
left  unguarded  by  his  opponents,  and  resolved  to  enter.  Born  in 
2 


18  TEE  TEIETT-JVIJVTE  COJYGBESS. 

Maine,  now  a  citizen  of  New  York,  and  editor  of  the  "  Express/' 
Mr.  Brooks  was  in  Congress  for  the  fourth  time  a  champion  of 
what  he  deemed  the  rights  of  the  South,  and  not  in  accordance 
with  the  prevailing  sentiments  in  his  native  and  adopted  States. 

Mr.  Brooks  obtained  the  floor,  and  desired  to  amend  the 
motion.  He  thought  the  roll  should  be  completed  before  pro- 
ceeding to  the  election  of  Speaker.  "  I  trust,"  said  he,  "  that  we 
shall  not  proceed  to  any  revolutionary,  any  step  like  that,  without 
at  least  hearing  from  the  honorable  gentleman  from  Tennessee. 
If  Tennessee  is  not  in  the  Union,  by  what  right  does  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States  usurp  his  place  in  the  White  House 
when  an  alien  and  a  foreigner,  and  not  from ,  a  State  in  the 
Union?" 

At  this  stage,  a  man  of  mark — five  times  a  Representative  in 
Congress,  but  now  twelve  years  away  from  the  capital  and  a  new 
member — John  Wentworth,  of  Chicago — elevated  his  tall  and 
massive  form,  and  with  a  stentorian  voice  called  Mr.  Brooks  to 
order.  The  Clerk  having  fairly  decided  that  gentleman  entitled 
to  the  floor  on  the  question  of  proceeding  to  the  election  of  a 
Speaker,  Mr.  Wentworth  sat  down,  and  Mr.  Brooks  in  resuming 
his  remarks  improved  his  chance  to  administer  rebuke  in  a  man- 
ner which  provoked  some  mirth.  ^When  the  honorable  gentle- 
man from  Illinois  is  better  acquainted  with  me  in  this  House," 
said  Mr.  Brooks,  "  he  will  learn  that  I  always  proceed  in  order, 
and  never  deviate  from  the  rules."  Mr.  Brooks  then  returned  to 
his  championship  of  Mr.  Maynard :  "  If  he  is  not  a  loyal  man, 
and  is  not  from  a  State  in  this  Union,  what  man,  then,  is  loyal  ? 
In  the  darkest  and  most  doubtful  period  of  the  war,  when  an  ex- 
ile from  his  own  State,  I  heard  his  eloquent  voice  on  the  banks 
of  the  St.  Lawrence  arousing  the  people  of  my  own  State  to  dis- 
charge their  duties  to  the  country." 

Mr.  Brooks  joined  Virginia  with  Tennessee,  and  asked  the 
Clerk  to  give  his  reasons  for  excluding  the  names  of  Representa- 
tives from  these  States  from  the  roll.  The  Clerk  replied  that  he 
had  acted  in  accordance  with  his  views  of  duty,  and  was  willing  to 
let  the  record  stand ;  if  it  was  the  desire  of  the  House  to  have  his 
reasons,  he  would  give  them. 

"  It  is  not  necessary,"  said  Thaddeus  Stevens  ;  "  we  know  all." 

"  I  know,"  replied  Mr.  Brooks,  "that  it  is  known  to  all  in  one 
quarter,  but  that  it  is  not  known  to  many  in  other  quarters  in 


OPENING  SCENES.  19 

this  House,  why  this  exclusion  has  been  made.  I  should  know 
but  little,  if  I  had  not  the  record  before  me  of  the  resolution 
adopted  by  the  Republican  majority  of  this  House,  that  Tennes- 
see, Louisiana,  and  Virginia  were  to  be  excluded,  and  excluded 
without  debate.  Why  without  debate?  Are  gentlemen  afraid  to 
face  debate  ?  Are  their  reasons  of  such  a  character  that  they  dare 
not  present  them  to  the  country,  and  have  to  resort  to  the  extra- 
ordinary step  of  sideway  legislation,  in  a  private  caucus,  to  enact 
a  joint  resolution  to  be  forced  upon  this  House  without  debate, 
confirming  that  there  are  no  reasons  whatever  to  support  this 
position  except  their  absolute  power,  and  authority,  and  control 
over  this  House?  If  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  would 
but  inform  me  at  what  period  he  intends  to  press  this  resolution, 
I  would  be  happy  to  be  informed." 

"  I  propose  to  present  it  at  the  proper  time,"  was  the  response 
of  Mr.  Stevens,  provoking  laughter  and  applause. 

Mr.  Brooks  replied:  "Talleyrand  said  that  language  was  given 
to  man  to  conceal  ideas,  and  we  all  know  the  gentleman's  ingenu- 
ity in  the  use  of  language.  The  proper  time !  When  will  that 
be  ?"  Mr.  Brooks  then  proceeded  at  some  length  to  answer  this 
"question.  He  supposed  the  proper  time  would  be  as  soon  as  the 
House  was  organized,  and  before  the  President's  message  could 
be  heard  and  considered,  that  the  action  of  the  House  might 
silence  the  Executive,  and  nullify  the  exposition  which  he  might 
make,  and  become  a  quasi  condemnation  of  the  action  of  the 
President  of  the  United  States. 

Mr.  Brooks  was  at  length  ready  to  close,  and  -sought  to  yield 
the  floor  to  a  Democratic  member.  The  Republicans,  however, 
were  ready  to  meet  the  emergency,  and  objected  to  the  floor  being 
yielded  in  such  a  way  as  would  cause  delay  without  furthering 
the  business  of  organizing  the  House.  Points  of  order  were$ 
raised,  and  efforts  made  to  entangle  the  Clerk,  but  in  vain.  His 
rulings  ^ere  prompt,  decisive,  and  effectual.  The  moment  a  Re- 
publican fairly  held  the  floor,  the  previous  question  was  moved, 
the  initial  contest  was  over,  and  the  House  proceeded  to  elect  a 
Speaker. 

A  stoop-shouldered,  studious-looking  gentleman,  now  for  the 
sixth  successive  term  a  member  of  Congress — Justin  S.  Morrill, 
of  Vermont — arose  and  nominated  Schuyler  Colfax,  of  Indiana 
On  the  other  side  of  the  house,  a  gentleman  from  New  York 


20  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

portly  in  his  person,  now  entering  on  his  second  Congressional 
term — Charles  H.  Winfield — nominated  James  Brooks,  of  New 
York.  Four  members  took  their  seats  behind  the  Clerk  to  act 
as  tellers.  The  responses  were  at  length  all  given,  and  the  num- 
bers noted.  Mr.  Morrill,  one  of  the  tellers,  announced  the  re- 
sult— "Mr.  Colfax,  one  hundred  and  thirty-nine;  Mr.  Brooks, 
thirty-six."  The  Clerk  formally  announced  the  result,  and 
stepped  aside ;  his  work  as  presiding  officer  of  the  Thirty-ninth 
Congress  was  at  an  end. 

In  the  place  thus  made  vacant  appeared  the  man  but  a  moment 
before  elected  to  the  position  by  the  largest  political  majority 
ever  given  to  a  Speaker  of  the  House.  A  well-proportioned 
figure  of  medium  size,  a  pleasing  countenance  often  radiant  with 
smiles,  a  style  of  movement  quick  and  restless,  yet  calm  and  self- 
possessed,  were  characteristic  of  him  upon  whom  aU  eyes  were 
turned.  In  the  past  a  printer  and  editor  in  Indiana,  now  in 
Congress  for  the  sixth  term,  and  elected  Speaker  the  second  time, 
Schuyler  Colfax  stood  to  take  the  oath  of  office,  and  enter 
upon  the  discharge  of  most  difficult  and  responsible  duties.  He 
said  : 

"  Gentlemen  of  the  House  of  Representatives  :  The  reassem- 
bling of  Congress,  marking  as  it  does  the  procession  of  our  na- 
tional history,  is  always  regarded  with  interest  by  the  people  for 
whom  it  is  to  legislate.  But  it  is  not  unsafe  to  say  that  millions 
more  than  ever  before,  North,  South,  East,  and  West,  are  looking 
to  the  Congress  which  opens  its  session  to-day  with  an  earnest- 
ness and  solicitude  unequaled  on  similar  occasions  in  the  past. 
The  Thirty-eighth  Congress  closed  its  constitutional  existence 
with  the  storm-cloud  of  war  still  lowering  over  us,  and  after  nine 
months'  absence,  Congress  resumes  its  legislative  authority  in  these 
*  council  halls,  rejoicing  that  from  shore  to  shore  in  our  land  there 
is  peace. 

"  Its  duties  are  as  obvious  as  the  sun's  pathway  in  the  heavens. 
Representing  in  its  two  branches  the  States  and  the  people,  its 
first  and  highest  obligation  is  to  guarantee  to  every  State  a  repub- 
lican form  of  government.  The  rebellion  having  overthrown 
constitutional  State  governments  in  many  States,  it  is  yours  to 
mature  and  enact  legislation  which,  with  the  concurrence  of  the 
Executive,  shall  establish  them  anew  on  such  a  basis  of  enduring 
justice  as  will  guarantee  all  necessary  safeguards  to  the  people, 


OPENING  SCENES.  21 

and  afford  what  our  Magna  Charta,  the  Declaration  of  Indepen- 
dence, proclaims  is  the  chief  object  of  government — protection  to 
all  men  in  their  inalienable  rights.  The  world  should  witness,  in 
this  great  work,  the  most  inflexible  fidelity,  the  most  earnest  de- 
votion to  the  principles  of  liberty  and  humanity,  the  truest  patri- 
otism and  the  wisest  statesmanship. 

"  Heroic  men,  by  hundreds  of  thousands,  have  died  that  the 
Republic  might  live.  The  emblems  of  mourning  have  darkened 
White  House  and  cabin  alike ;  but  the  fires  of  civil  war  have 
melted  every  fetter  in  the  land,  and  proved  the  funeral  pyre  of 
slavery.  It  is  for  you,  Representatives,  to  do  your  work  as  faith- 
fully and  as  well  as  did  the  fearless  saviors  of  the  Union  in  their 
more  dangerous  arena  of  duty.  Then  we  may  hope  to  see  the 
vacant  and  once  abandoned  seats  around  us  gradually  filling  up, 
until  this  hall  shall  contain  Representatives  from  every  State  and 
district;  their  hearts  devoted  to  the  Union  for  which  they  are  to 
legislate,  jealous  of  its  honor,  proud  of  its  glory,  watchful  of  its 
rights,  and  hostile  to  its  enemies.  And  the  stars  on  our  banner, 
that  paled  when  the  States  they  represented  arrayed  themselves 
in  arms  against  the  nation,  will  shine  with  a  more  brilliant  light 
of  loyalty  than  ever  before." 

Mr.  Colfax  having  finished  his  address,  took  the  following 
oath,  which  stood  as  the  most  serious  obstacle  in  the  way  of  many 
elected  to  Congress  from  the  Southern  States : 

"  I  do  solemnly  swear  that  I  have  never  voluntarily  borne  arms  against 
the  United  States  since  I  have  been  a  citizen  thereof;  that  I  have  volunta- 
rily given  no  aid,  countenance,  counsel,  or  encouragement  to  persons  engaged 
in  armed  hostility  thereto ;  that  I  have  neither  sought  nor  accepted  nor  at- 
tempted to  exercise  the  functions  of  any  office  whatever,  under  any  authority 
or  pretended  authority  in  hostility  to  the  United  States;  that  I  have  not 
yielded  a  voluntary  support  to  any  pretended  government,  authority,  power, 
or  constitution  within  the  United  States,  hostile  or  inimical  thereto.  And  I 
do  further  swear  that,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge  and  ability,  I  will  support 
and  defend  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  against  all  enemies,  foreign 
and  domestic;  that  I  will  bear  true  faith  and  allegiance  to  the  same;  that  I 
take  this  obligation  freely,  without  any  mental  reservation  or  purpose  of 
evasion ;  and  that  I  will  well  and  faithfully  discharge  the  duties  of  the  office 
on  which  I  am  about  to  enter.     So  help  me  God !  " 

The  subordinate  officers  were  then  elected  by  resolution,  and 
the  House  of  Representatives  being  organized,  was  ready  to  enter 
upon  its  work. 


THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER  II. 

LOCATIONS  OF  THE   MEMBERS  AND  CAST  OF  THE  COMMITTEES. 

Importance  of  surroundings — Members  sometimes  referred  to  by  their 
seats — Senator  Andrew  Johnson — Seating  of  the  Senators — Drawing 
in  the  House — The  Senate-chamber  as  seen  from  the  Gallery — Dis- 
tinguished Senators — The  House  of  Representatives — Some  prominent 
characters — importance  of  committees — difficulty  in  their  appoint- 
MENT— Important  Senate  Committees — Committees  of  the  House. 

THE  localities  and  surroundings  of  men  have  an  influence  on 
their  actions  and  opinions.  A  matter  which,  to  the  casual 
observer,  seems  so  unimportant  as  the  selection  and  arrange- 
ment of  the  seats  of  Senators  and  Representatives,  has  its  influence 
upon  the  legislation  of  the  country.  Ever  since  parties  have  had 
an  existence,  it  has  been  considered  of  vital  moment  that  those 
of  one  political  faith  in  a  deliberative  body  should  occupy,  as 
nearly  as  possible,  the  same  locality. 

It  is  sometimes  of  service  to  a  reader,  in  attempting  to  under- 
stand the  reported  proceedings  of  Congress,  to  know  the  localities 
of  the  members.  Each  seat  has  a  sort  of  history  of  its  own,  and 
becomes  in  some  way  identified  with  its  occupant.  Members  are 
frequently  alluded  to  in  connection  with  the  seats  they  occupy. 
Sometimes  it  happens  that,  years  after  a  man  has  gone  from 
Congress,  it  is  convenient  and  suggestive  to  refer  to  him  by  his 
old  place  in  the  chamber.  As  an  illustration,  Mr.  Trumbull, 
in  his  speech  on  the  veto  of  the  Civil  Rights  Bill,  desiring  to 
quote  Andrew  Johnson,  Senator,  against  Andrew  Johnson,  Presi- 
dent, referred  to  "  a  speech  delivered  in  this  body  by  a  'Senator 
occupying,  I  think,  the  seat  now  occupied  across  the  chamber  by 
my  friend  from  Oregon  (Mr.  Williams)." 

A   necessary  and  important  part   of  the  adjustment  of  the 


LOCATIONS  OF  THE  MEMBERS.  23 

machinery,  at  the  opening  of  each  Congress,  is  the  selection  of 
Beats.  As  the  Senators  serve  for  six  years,  and  many  of  them 
have  been  reelected  more  than  once,  there  are  comparatively  few 
changes  made  at  the  opening  of  any  Congress.  The  old  members 
generally  choose  to  retain  their  accustomed  seats,  and  the  small 
number  that  come  in  as  new  Senators  choose  among  the  vacant 
seats,  as  convenience  or  caprice  may  dictate. 

In  the  House  of  Representatives  the  formality  of  drawing  for 
seats  is  necessary.  That  this  may  be  conveniently  and  fairly 
done,  at  the  appointed  time  all  the  members  retire  to  the  ante- 
chambers, leaving  the  seats  all  unoccupied.  The  Clerk  draws 
at  random  from  a  receptacle  containing  the  names  of  all  the 
members.  As  the  members  are  called,  one  by  one,  they  go 
in  and  occupy  such  seats  as  they  may  choose.  The  unlucky 
member  whose  name  last  turns  up  has  little  room  for  choice, 
and  musl  be  content  to  spend  his  Congressional  days  far  from 
ih''  Speaker,  on  the  remote  circumference,  or  to  the  right  or 
left  extreme. 

There  are  in  the  Senate-chamber  seventy  scats,  in  three  tiers 
of  semi-circular  arrangement.  If  all  the  old  Southern  States 
were  represented  by  Senators  on  the  floor,  the  scats  would  be 
more  than  full.  As  it  was  in  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress,  there 
were  a  number  of  vacant  desks,  all  of  them  situated  to  the  right 
and  left  of  the  presiding  officer. 

In  a  division  of  political  parties  nearly  equal,  the  main  aisle 
from  the  southern  entrance  would  be  the  separating  line.  As  it 
was,  the  Republican  Senators  occupied  not  only  the  eastern  half 
of  the  chamber,  but  many  of  them  were  seated  on  the  other  side, 
the  comparatively  few  Democratic  Senators  sitting  still  further  to 
the  west. 

Seated  in  the  gallery,  the  spectator  has  a  favorable  position  to 
survey  the  grand  historic  scene  which  passes  below.  His  eye  is 
naturally  first  attracted  to  the  chair  which  is  constitutionally  the 
seat  of  the  second  dignitary  in  the  land— the  Vice-President  of 
the  United  States.  That  office,  however,  has  no  incumbent,  since 
}ie  who  took  oath  a  few  months  before  to  perform  its  duties  was 
called  to  occupy  a  higher  place,  made  vacant  by  a  most  atrocious 
crime.  The  event,  however,  cost  the  Senate  little  loss  of  dignity, 
since  the  chair  is  filled  by  a  President  pro  tempore  of  great  ability 
and  excellence— Lafayette  S.  Foster,  Senator  from  Connecticut. 


24  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

The  eye  of  the  spectator  naturally  seeks  out  Charles  Sumner, 
who  sits  away  on  the  outer  tier  of  seats,  toward  the  south-east 
corner  of  the  chamber;  and  near  him,  on  the  left,  are  seen  the 
late  Governors,  now  Senators,  Morgan  and  Yates,  of  New  York 
and  Illinois.  Immediately  in  front  of  them,  on  the  middle  tier 
of  seats,  is  an  assemblage  of  old  and  distinguished  Senators — 
Trumbull,  Wilson,  Wade,  and  Fessenden. .  To  the  right  of  the 
"Vice-President's  chair,  and  in  the  row  of  seats  neares  this  desk, 
sits  the  venerable  and  learned  lawyer,  Reverdy  Johnson,  of  Mary- 
land. Just  in  his  rear  sits  the  youthful  Sprague,  of  Rhode  Island, 
to  whose  right  is  seen  Sherman,  of  Ohio.  To  the  rear  of  these 
Senators,  in  the  outer  segment  of  seats,  sits,  or  perhaps  stands, 
Garrett  Davis,  of  Kentucky,  the  most  garrulous  of  old  men,  con- 
tinually out  of  temper  with  the  majority,  jet  all  the  time  marked 
by  what  he  calls  his  "usual  courtesy."  To  the  left  of  Davis, 
beyond  Nesmith,  of  Oregon,  and  the  other  and  more  silent  Sen- 
ator from  Kentucky,  sits  Saulsbury,  Of  Delaware,  unless  he 
should  be  traversing  tlie  carpeted  space  in  the  rear  of  his  scat, 
like  a  sentinel  of  the  Senate. 

Far  different  is  the  sight  presented  to  the  spectator  who  looks 
down  from  the  galleries  of  the  House  of  Representatives.  The 
immense  area  below  is  supplied  with  two  hundred  and  fifty-three 
seats,  with  desks  arranged  in  semi-circular  rows,  having  a  point 
in  front  of  the  Speaker's  desk  as  a  focus.  On  the  right  of  the 
spectator,  as  he  looks  from  the  gallery  in  front  of  the  Speaker, 
is  the  Republican  side  of  the  House.  But  this  prosperous  organ- 
ization has  grown  so  rapidly  since  its  birth,  ten  years  ago,  that 
it  has  overstepped  all  old  and  traditional  party  limitations.  One- 
half  of  the  House  is  not  sufficient  to  afford  its  representatives 
adequate  accommodations.  Republican  members  have  passed 
over  the  main  aisle,  and  occupy  half  of  the  Democratic  side, 
having  pressed  the  thin  ranks  of  their  opponents  to  the  extreme 
left. 

As  the  spectator  scans  the  House,  his  eye  will  rest  on  Thad- 
deus  Stevens,  whose  brown  wig  and  Roman  cast  of  countenance 
mark  the  veteran  ,of  the  House.  He  sits  in  the  right  place  for 
a  leader  of  the  Republicans,  about  half-way  back  from  the  Speak- 
er's desk,  on  the  diagonal  line  which  divides  the  western  side  of 
the  House,  where  he  can  readily  catch  the  Speaker's  eye,  and  be 
easily  heard  by  all  his  friends.     Immediately  in  his  rear  is  his 


LOCATIONS  OF  THE  MEMBERS.  25 

successor  in  the  chairmanship  of  the  Committee  of  Ways  and 
Means— Mr.  Morrill,  of  Vermont.  To  the  right,  across  the  aisle, 
is  Elihu  B.  Washburn,  of  Illinois,  the  oldest  member  in  contin- 
uous service  in  the  House;  and  to  his  rear  is  Henry  J.  Ray- 
mond, of  the  Times.  To  the  right,  and  partly  in  the  rear  of  Mr. 
Stevens,  are  a  number  of  noteworthy  men:  among  them  are 
General  Schenck,  General  Garfield,  and  "Long  John"  Went- 
worth,  of  Chicago.  Far  around  to  the  right,  and  much  nearer 
the  Speaker's  desk,  is  seen  a  man  distinguished  in  civil  and  mili- 
tary history,  who  once  occupied  the  Speaker's  chair — General 
Banks,  of  Massachusetts.  In  physical  contrast  with  him,  sits— 
in  the  adjoining  desk,  a  tall,  dark,  bearded  Californian— General 
John  Bidwell,  a  new  member  of  the  House.  On  the  opposite 
side  of  the  House,  among  the  Democrats,  is  the  seat  of  John  A. 
Bingham,  who  now  returns  to  Congress  after  an  absence  of  one 
term,  whom  his  friends  describe  as  the  "  best-natured  and  crossest- 
looking  man  in  the  House."  James  Brooks,  most  plausible  and 
best-natured  of  Democrats,  notwithstanding  the  inroads  of  the 
Republicans,  sturdily  keeps  his  seat  near  the  main  aisle.  His 
seat,  however,  he  is  destined  to  lose  before  many  months  in  favor 
of  a  contestant,  who  will  occupy  the  other  side  of  the  chamber. 

In  looking  down  upon  so  large  an  assemblage,  a  large  part  of 
which  is  so  distant,  the  eye  of  the  spectator  will  weary  in  the  at- 
tempt to  discover  and  recognize  individuals,  however  familiar, 
amidst  the  busy  throng. 

In  preparing  for  the  work  of  legislation,  a  matter  of  more  im- 
portance than  the  arrangement  of  the  seats  is  the  cast  of  the 
committees.  Most  of  the  labor  of  legislative  bodies  is  clone  by 
committees.  As  it  is  impossible  for  any  one  Congressman  to 
give  that  minute  and  particular  attention  to  all  the  numerous 
interests  demanding  legislation,  essential  to  a  wise  determination 
as  to  what  bills  should  be  presented,  and  how  they  should  be 
drawn  in  every  case,  the  various  subjects  are  parceled  out  among 
those  whose  opportunities,  interests,  or  inclinations  have  led  them 
to  give  particular  attention  to  the  matters  committed  to  their 
charge.  The  perfection  of  legislation  on  particular  subjects  de- 
pends not  more  on  the  wisdom  of  the  entire  body  of  legisla- 
tors than  on  the  good  sense  of  the  committees  that  deliberate  upon 
them.  Much  of  the  efficiency  and  success  of  the  legislative  acts 
of  Congress  will  depend  upon  the  structure  of  the  committees 


26  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

that  do  the  laborious  work  of  preparing  business  for  the  body. 
Tracing  the  stream  of  legislative  enactment  still  nearer  to  its 
source,  it  will  be  found  that  the  work  of  a  committee  takes  a  de- 
cided tinge  from  the  character  of  its  chairman. 

It  consequently  becomes  a  matter  of  great  interest  to  the  coun- 
try, at  the  opening  of  each  Congress,  to  know  who  constitute  the 
committees.  One  of  the  most  arduous  and  responsible  duties  of 
the  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives  is  the  selection  of 
committees  and  filling  their  chairmanships.  Fitness  and  special 
adaptation  are  supposed  to  constitute  the  rule  by  which  choice  is 
made.  Many  elements,  however,  enter  into  the  work  which  are 
not  a  part  of  this  philosophy.  It  is  impossible  that  the  presiding 
officer  should  know  unerringly  who  is  absolutely  the  fittest  man 
for  any  position,  and  if  he  possessed  such  superhuman  knowledge 
he  would  still  be  trammeled  by  long-established  rules  of  precedence 
and  promotion.  There  is  often  a  regular  gradation  by  which  men 
arrive  at  positions  which  is  not  in  direct  ratio  to  their  fitness  for 
their  places. 

•  Notwithstanding  all  the  errors  which  were  unavoidable  elements 
in  the  work,  committees  were  never  better  constituted  than  those 
of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress. 

The  Senate"  being  comparatively  small  in  numbers,  and,  more- 
over, by  usage,  doing  most  of  the  details  of  this  business  in  cau- 
cus, the  announcement  of  the  committees  in  this  body  was  made 
on  Wednesday,  the  third  day  of  the  session.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  size  of  the  House,  the  large  proportion  of  new  and  unknown 
members  appearing  every  term,  the  number  and  magnitude  of  the 
committees,  and  the  fact  that  the  duty  of  appointment  devolved 
upon  the  Speaker,  combined  to  render  the  reading  out  of  commit- 
teemen in  the  latter  body  impossible  before  the  following  Monday, 
one  week  after  the  assembling  of  Congress. 

Of  the  Senate  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations,  Charles  Sum- 
ner was  appointed  chairman.  This  is  a  very  important  committee, 
being;  the  direct  channel  of  communication  between  the  State  De- 
partment  and  the  Senate.  It  being  the  constitutional  duty  of  the 
Senate  to  pass  upon  all  treaties,  and  to  decide  upon  qualifica- 
tions of  all  persons  nominated  by  the  Executive  to  represent  the 
United  States  in  foreign  countries,  the  labors  of  this  committee 
are  arduous  and  responsible.  The  chairmanship  of  this  committee 
was  filled  by  a  Senator  of  most  eminent  fitness  and  ability.     His 


THE  CAST  OF  THE  COMMITTEES.  27 

literary  culture,  and  attainments  as  a  scholar,  his  general  legal 
ability  and  familiarity  with  the  laws  of  nations,  his  residence 
abroad  for  several  years,  and  his  long  membership  in  the  Senate, 
now  of  fourteen  years'  duration,  all  marked  him  as  wisely  chosen 
for  his  important  position. 

On  account  of  the  immense  National  debt  accumulated  in  the 
war,  and  the  complication  of  the  financial  affairs  of  the  nation, 
the  Committee  on  Finance  has  an  important  bearing  upon  the 
interests  of  the  country,  unknown  until  recent  years.  AVilliam 
P.  Fessenden  was  the  Senator  chosen  chairman  of  this  committee. 
His  success  in  his  private  business,  his  appointment,  in  1864,  as 
the  head  of  the  Treasury  Department,  and  his  service  in  the 
Senate  since  1853  as  member  of  the  Finance  Committee,  and  since 
1859  as  its  chairman,  all  indicated  the  propriety  of  his  continu- 
ance in  this  position.  Second  on  the  list  of  this  committee  stood 
Senator  Sherman,  of  Ohio,  who  has  been  described  as  "  au  fait 
on  National  Banks,  fond  of  figures,  and  in  love  with  finances." 

The  Committee  on  Commerce  was  constituted  with  Senator 
Chandler,  of  Michigan,  as  its  chairman.  Himself  most  success- 
ful in  commercial  life,  in  which  he  had  attained  distinction  before 
coming  to  the  Senate,  and  representing  a  State  having  a  greater 
extent  of  coast  and  better  facilities  for  commerce  than  any  other 
inland  community  in  the  world,  Senator  Chandler  was  eminently 
suitable  as  head  of  the  Committee  on  Commerce.  His  associates 
being  selected  from  Maine,  New  York,  Vermont,  Wisconsin, 
Kansas,  and  Oregon,  left  unrepresented  no  important  commercial 
interest  in  the  nation. 

The  Committee  on  Manufactures  was  headed  by  William 
Sprague,  Senator  from  Rhode  Island,  a  State  having  the  largest 
capital  invested,  and  most  persons  employed  in  manufactures,  in 
proportion  to  population,  of  any  in  the  Union.  Senator  Sprague 
himself  having  been  educated  in  the  counting-room  of  a  manu- 
facturing establishment,  and  having  control  of  one  of  the  largest 
manufacturing  interests  in  the  country,  was  the  appropriate  per- 
son for  such  a  position. 

The  agricultural  States  of  Ohio,  Kansas,  Maryland,  Pennsyl- 
vania, and  Kentucky  furnished  the  members  of  the  Committee 
on  Agriculture,  with  Senator  Sherman  at  its  head. 

Of  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  a  Senator  has  given  a 
description.  In  a  speech  delivered  in  the  Senate,  December  12, 
\ 


28  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

1865,  Mr.  Doolittle,  of  Wisconsin,  said:  "From  its  very  organi- 
zation the  Senate  designs  to  make  that  committee  its  constitu- 
tional adviser — not  that  its  opinions  are  to  be  conclusive  or  con- 
troling  on  the  vote  of  any  member  of  this  body,  like  the  opinion 
of  the  bench  of  Judges  in  the  House  of  Lords ;  but  its  members 
are  chosen  in  consideration  of  their  high  professional  ability,  their 
long  experience,  and  well-known  standing  as  jurists,  in  order  that 
their  report  upon  constitutional  questions  may  be  entitled  to  the 
highest  consideration.  And,  sir,  if  you  look  into  the  organiza- 
tion of  the  Judiciary  Committee  appointed  by  the  Senate  at  the 
present  session,  what  is  it?  There  is  the  Senator  from  Illinois, 
[Mr.  Trumbull],  for  years  Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  that 
State  before  he  entered  this  body,  who,  for  ten  years  and  more, 
has  been  a  faithful,  laborious,  distinguished  member  of  that  com- 
mittee, and  for  the  last  four  years  its  chairman.  And  there  sits 
my  honorable  friend  from  New  York  [Mr.  Harris],  for  twenty 
years  before  he  came  here  known  and  distinguished  among  the 
able  jurists  and  judges  of  that  great  State.  And  there  is  the 
honorable  Senator  from  Vermont  [Mr.  Poland]*  He  has,  it  is 
true,  just  entered  this  body,  but  his  reputation  as  a  jurist  pre- 
ceded his  coming,  and  he  comes  here  to  fill  the  place  in  this 
chamber,  and  is  put  upon  this  Judiciary  Committee  to  fill  the 
place  of  him  of  whom  I  .will  say,  Avithout  disparagement  to  any, 
that  he  was  the  ablest  jurist  of  us  all— the  late  distinguished 
Senator  from  Vermont  [Mr.  Collamer].  And  there  is  the  Sena- 
tor from  New  Hampshire  [Mr.  Clark],  from  the  far  East,  and 
the  Senator  from  Nevada  [Mr.  Stewart],  from  the  Pacific  coast, 
and  the  Senator  from  Indiana  [Mr.  Hendricks],  from  the  central 
region,  each  of  whom  stands  eminent  in  the  profession  in  the  State 
which  he  represents,  and  all  of  whom  are  recognized  here  among 
the  ablest  jurists  of  this  body." 

Some  of  the  great  political  questions  destined  to  engage  the 
attention  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  invested  the  Committee  on 
the  District  of  Columbia  with  a  national  interest,  although  its 
duties  pertained  chiefly  to  the  local  concerns  of  the  immediate 
neighborhood  of  the  capital.  Its  chairman,  Mr.  Morrill,  of 
Maine,  as  well  as  its  members,  among  whom  were  Wade,  Sum- 
ner, and  Yates,  gave  it  character  and  ability,  and  aiforded  assur- 
ance that  the  great  questions  involved  would  be  calmly  met  and 
honestly  answered. 


' 


THE  CAST  OF  THE  COMMITTEES.  39 

In  the  House  of  Representatives,  the  Committee  of  Ways  and 
Means  has  ever  been  regarded  of  first  importance,  and  its  chair- 
man has  been  considered  leader  of  the  House.  Its  duties,  though 
of  a  somewhat  miscellaneous  character,  relate  chiefly  to  devising 
the  ways  and  means  of  raising  revenue.  The  fact  that  the  Con- 
stitution provides  that  "all  bills  for  raising  revenue  shall  origi- 
nate in  the  House  of  Representatives,"  gives  the  Committee  of 
Ways  and  Means  a  sort  of  preeminence  over  all  other  commit- 
tees", whether  of  the  Senate  or  the  House. 

The  work  of  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  as  it  had 
existed  before  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress,  was,  at  the  opening  of 
this  session,  divided  among  three  committees;  one  retaining  the 
old  name  and  still  remaining  the  leading  committee,  a  second  on 
Appropriations,  and  a  third  on  Banking  and  Owrrmcy. 

Of  the  new  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  Justin  S.  Morrill, 
of  Vermont,  was  appointed  chairman— a  Representative  of  ten 
years'  experience  in  the  House,  who  had  seen  several  years  of 
service  on  the  same  committee.  While  his  abilities  and  habits, 
as  a  student  and  a  thinker,  well  adapted  him  for  the  work  of 
conducting  his  committee  by  wise  deliberation  to  useful  measures, 
vet  they  were  not  characteristics  fitting  him  with  readiest  tact 
and  most  resolute  will  to  "  handle  the  House." 

Thaddeus  Stevens,  the  old  chairman  of  the  Committee  of  Ways 
and  Means,  was  appointed  the  head  of  the  new  Committee  on 
Appropriations.  His  vigilance  and  integrity  admirably  fitted 
him  for  this  position,  while  his  age  made  it  desirable  that  he 
should  be  relieved  of  the  arduous  labors  of  the  Committee  of 
Ways  and  Means.  Of  this  committee  he  had  been  chairman  in 
the  two  preceding  Congresses,  and  had  filled  a  large  space  in 
the  public  eye  as  leader  of  the  House.  His  age— over  seventy 
years— gave  him  the  respect  of  members  the  majority  of  whom 
"were  born  after  he  graduated  at  college— the  more  especially  as 
these  advanced  years  were  not  attended  with  any  perceptible 
abatement  of  the  intellectual  vivacity  or  fire  of  youth.  The 
evident  honesty  and  patriotism  with  which  he  advanced  over 
prostrate  theories  and  policies  toward  the  great  ends  at  which  he 
aimed,  secured  him  multitudes  of  friends,  while  these  same  quali- 
ties contributed  to  make  him  many  enemies.  The  timid  became 
bold  and  the  resolute  were  made  stronger  in  seeing  the  bravery 
with  which  he  maintained  his  principles.     He  had  a  habit  of 


30  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

going  straight  to  the  issue,  and  a  rugged  manner  of  presenting 
his  opinions,  coupled  with  a  cool  assurance,  which,  one  of  his 
unfriendly  critics  once  declared,  "sometimes  rose  almost  to  the 
sublime."  He  alone,  of  all  the  members  of  the  Pennsylvania 
Convention,  in  1836,  refused  to  sign  the  new  State  Constitution, 
because  it  robbed  the  negro  of  his  vote.  It  was  a  fitting  reward 
that  he,  in  1866,  should  stand  in  the  United  States  House  of 
Representatives,  at  the  head  of  a  majority  of  more  than  one  hun- 
dred, declaring  that  the  oppressed  race  should  enjoy  rights  so 
long  denied. 

The  Committee  on  Banking  and  Currency  had  as  chairman 
Theodore  M.  Pomeroy,  of  New  York,  who  had  served  four  years 
in  Congress.  Perhaps  its  most  important  member  was  Samuel 
Hooper,  a  Boston  merchant  and  financier,  who,  from  the  outset  of 
his  Congressional  career,  now  entering  upon  the  third  term,  had 
been  on  the  Committee  of  Ways  and  Means,  of  which  he  still  re- 
mained a  member,  the  only  Representative  retaining  connection 
with  the  old  committee  and  holding  a  place  in  one  of  the  new 
offshoots  from  it. 

Hiram  Price,  of  Iowa,  was  appointed  chairman  of  the  Com- 
mittee on  the  Pacific  Railroad.  The  Speaker  of  the  House,  in 
his  recent  visit  to  the  Pacific  coast,  had  been  impressed  with  the 
importance  of  this  work,  and  wisely  chose  as  members  of  this 
committee  Representatives  from  Pennsylvania,  Minnesota,  Massa- 
chusetts, New  York,  Missouri,  Kansas,  California,  and  Oregon. 

A  committee  of  much  importance  to  Congress  and  the  coun- 
try— that  of  Commerce — had  for  its  chairman  Elihu  B.  Wash- 
burn, of  Illinois,  who  had  been  in  the  previous  Congress  the 
oldest  member  in  continuous  service,  and  hence  was  styled 
"  Father  of  the  House." 

The  Committee  on  Elections  subsequently  lost  some  of  its  im- 
portance in  the  public  estimation  by  the  creation  of  a  special 
committee  to  consider  subjects  of  reconstruction  and  the  admis- 
sion of  Southern  members ;  yet  the  interests  confided  to  it  de- 
manded ability,  which  it  had  in  its  chairman,  Henry  L.  Dawes, 
of  Massachusetts,  as  well  as  in  the  Representatives  that  consti- 
tuted its  membership. 

The  legislation  relative  to  our  vast  unoccupied  domain,  having 
to  pass  through  the  Committee  on  Public  Lands,  renders  this 
committee  one  of  much  importance.     The  honesty  and  ability  of 


TEE  CAST  OF  THE  COMMITTEES.  31 

its  chairman,  George  W.  Julian,  of  Indiana,  together  with  his 
long  experience  in  Congress,  gave  to  the  recommendations  of  this 
committee  great  character  and  weight. 

Of  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  James  F.  Wilson,  of  Iowa, 
was  appointed  for  the  second  time  as  chairman.  George  S.  Bout- 
well,  of  Massachusetts,  and  other  Representatives  of  ability, 
were  appointed  as  members  of  this  committee.  Since  the  duty 
devolved  upon  it  of  taking  testimony  in  regard  to  the  impeach- 
ment of  the  President,  this  committee  attracted  public  attention 
to  a  degree  never  known  before. 

The  interests  of  manufactures  were  not  likely  to  suffer  in  the 
hands  of  a  committee  in  which  the  first  place  was  held  by  James 
K.  Moorhead,  tanner's  apprentice,  and  pioneer  of  cotton  manufac- 
tures in  Pennsylvania,  and  the  second  by  Oakes  Ames,  a  leading 
manufacturer  of  Massachusetts. 

Agriculture — the  most  gigantic  material  interest  in  America — 
was  intrusted  to  a  committee  having  John  Bidwell,  of  Califor- 
nia, as  its  chairman,  and  members  chosen  from  Iowa,  Indiana, 
Vermont,  Ohio,  Kentucky,  Michigan,  Pennsylvania,  and  New 
York. 

The  chairmanship  of  the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs  was 
bestowed  upon  a  major-general  of  volunteers  from  Ohio,  Robert 

C.  Schenck ;  while  membership  on  the  committee  was  given  to  a 
Connecticut  colonel,  Henry  C.  Doming ;  a  New  Hampshire  briga- 
dier-general, Gilman  Marston;  a  Kentucky  major-general,  Lov- 
ell  H.  Rousseau ;  a  New  York  Colonel,  John  H.  Ketchum,  and 
four  civilians. 

Nathaniel  P.  Banks,  Henry  J.  Raymond,  and  other  men  of 
much   ability,  were   appointed   on   the  Committee   on   Foreign 

Affairs. 

Special  committees  were  appointed  on  the  important  subjects 
of  Bankruptcy  and  the  Freedmen.  Of  the  committee  on  the 
former,  Thomas  A.  Jenckes  Avas  appointed  chairman.     Thomas 

D.  Eliot,  of  Massachusetts,  was  made  chairman  of  the  Commit- 
tee on  the  Freedmen. 

Many  other  committees  were  appointed  whose  labors  were  ar- 
duous and  necessary  to  our  legislation,  yet,  as  they  had  to  do 
with  subjects  of  no  great  general  interest,  they  need  not  be 
named. 

There  was  another  committee,  however,  of  great  importance 


32  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

whose  members  were  not  yet  designated.  The  resolution  by 
which  it  should  be  created,  was  yet  to  pass  through  the  ordeal  of 
discussion.  The  process  by  which  this  committee  was  created 
will  be  described  in  the  following  chapter. 


ON  RECONSTRUCTION  33 


CHAPTER    III. 

FORMATION   OF  THE  JOINT  COMMITTEE  ON  RECONSTRUCTION. 

Lack  of  Excitement — Cause — The  Kesolution — Dilatory  Motions — Yeas 
and  Nays — Proposed  Amendments  in  the  Senate — Debate  in  the  Sen- 
ate— Mr.  Howard — Mr.  Anthony — Mr.  Doolittle — Mr.  Fessenden — 
Mr.  Saulsbury — Mr.  Hendricks — Mr.  Trumbull — Mr.  Guthrie — Pas- 
sage of  the  Kesolution  in  the  Senate — Yeas  and  Nays — Kemarks  of 
Mr.  Stevens  on  the  Amendments  of  the  Senate — Concurrence  of  the 
House — The  Committee  appointed. 

SI^CE  it  was  known  throughout  the  country  that  members- 
elect  from  Tennessee  and  other  States  recently  in  rebellion 
would  appear  at  "Washington  on  the  opening  of  the  Thirty- 
ninth  Congress,  and  demand  recognition  of  their  right  to  repre- 
sent their  constituents,  all  eyes  were  turned  to  observe  the  action 
which  would  be  taken  on  the  subject.  It  was  anticipated  that 
the  question  would  be  sprung  at  once,  and  that  a  season  of  storm 
and  excitement  would  ensue,  unparalleled  in  the  political  history 
of  the  nation.  Since  the  American  people  are  exceedingly  fond 
of  excitements  and  sensations,  the  expectation  of  trouble  in  Con- 
gress drew  immense  numbers  to  its  galleries  on  the  first  day  of 
the  session.  Lovers  of  sensation  were  doomed  to  disappointment. 
Correspondents  and  reporters  for  the  press,  who  were  prepared  to 
furnish  for  the  newspapers  descriptions  of  an  opening  of  Congress 
''dangerously  boisterous,"  were  compelled  to  describe  it  as  "ex- 
ceptionally quiet." ' 

The  cause  of  this  unexpected  state  of  things  was  the  faet  that 
the  majority  had  previously  come  to  the  wise  conclusion  that 
it  would  not  be  well  to  pass  upon  the  admission  of  Southern 
members  in  open  session  and  amid  the  confusion  of  organization. 
As  there  was  so  much  difference  of  opinion  concerning  the  status 
of  the  communities  recently  in  rebellion,  and  such  a  variety  of 
considerations  must  be  regarded  in  reaching  wise  conclusions,  it 
3 


34  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

was  deemed  advisable  that  the  whole  subject  should  be  calmly 
and  deliberately  investigated  by  a  select  number  of  able  and 
patriotic  men  from  both  Houses  of  Congress. 

Accordingly,  on  the  first  day  of  the  session,  soon  after  the 
House  was  organized,  Mr.  Thaddeus  Stevens  offered  the  follow- 
ing important  Resolution: 

" Resolved,  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  in  Congress  as- 
sembled, that  a  joint  committee  of  fifteen  members  shall  be  appointed,  nine 
of  whom  shall  be  members  of  the  House,  and  six  members  of  the  Senate, 
who  shall  inquire  into  the  condition  of  the  States  which  formed  the  so-called 
Confederate  States  of  America,  and  report  whether  they  or  any  of  them  are 
entitled  to  be  represented  in  either  House  of  Congress,  with  leave  to  report 
at  any  time  by  bill  or  otherwise;  and  until  such  report  shall  have  been 
made,  and  finally  acted  upon  by  Congress,  no  member  shall  be  received  into 
either  House  from  any  of  the  said  so-called  Confederate  States;  and  all 
papers  relating  to  the  representation  of  the  said  States  shall  be  referred  to 
the  said  committee  without  debate." 

To  avoid  the  delay  occasioned  by  a  protracted  debate,  M$.  Ste- 
vens called  the  previous  question.  The  minority  perceived  the 
impossibility  of  preventing  the  final  passage  of  the  resolution, 
yet  deemed  it  their  duty  to  put  it  off  as  far  as  possible  by  their 
only  available  means — "dilatory  motions."  They  first  objected 
to  the  introduction  of  the  resolution,  under  the  rule  that  unani- 
mous consent  must  be  given  to  permit  a  resolution  to  come  before 
the  House  without  notice  given  on  a  previous  day.  To  meet  this 
difficulty,  Mr.  Stevens  moved  to  suspend  the  rules  to  enable  him 
to  introduce  the  resolution.  On  this  motion  the  yeas  and  nays 
were  demanded.  To  suspend  the  rules  under  such  circumstances 
required  a  two-thirds'  vote,  which  was  given — one  hundred  and 
twenty-nine  voting  for,  and  thirty-five  against  the  motion.  The 
rules  having  been  suspended,  the  resolution  was  regularly  before 
the  House.  A  motion  was  then  made  to  lay  the  resolution  on  the 
table,  and  the  yeas  and  nays  demanded.  Thirty-seven  were  in 
favor  of  the  motion,  and  one  hundred  and  thirty-three  against 
it.  Before  a  call  for  the  previous  question  is  available  to  cut  off 
debate,  it  must,  by  the  rules  of  the  House,  be  seconded  by  one- 
fifth  of  the  members  present.  This  having  been  done,  the  vote 
was  taken  by  yeas  and  nays  on  the  concurrent  resolution  sub- 
mitted by  Mr.  Stevens.  One  hundred  and  thirty-three  voted  in 
favor  of  the  resolution,  and  thirty-six  against  it,  while  thirteen 


ON  RECOjXSTRUCT.IOjY.  35 

were  reported  as  "not  voting."  As  this  vote  was  on  an  impor- 
tant measure,  and  is  significant  as  marking  with  considerable 
accuracy  the  political  complexion  of  the  House  of  Representa- 
tives, it  should  be  given  in  detail. 

The  following  are  the  names  of  those  who  voted  "  Yea :" 

Messrs.  Alley,  Allison,  Ames,  Anderson,  Baker,  Baldwin,  Banks,  Barker, 
Baxter,  Beaman,  Benjamin,  Bidwell,  Bingham,  Blow,  Boutwell,  Brandagee, 
Bromwell,  Broomall,  Buckland,  Bundy,  Reader  W.  Clark,  Sidney  Clark, 
Cobb,  Conkling,  Cook,  Cullom,  Culver,  Darling,  Davis,  Dawes,  Defrees,  De- 
lano, Deming,  Dixon,  Donnelly,  Driggs,  Dumont,  Eckley,  Eggleston,  Eliot, 
Farnsworth,  Ferry,  Garfield,  Grinnell,  Griswold,  Hale,  Abner  C.  Harding, 
Hart,  Hayes,  Henderson,  Higby,  Hill,  Holmes,  Hooper,  Hotchkiss,  Asabel 
W.  Hubbard,  John  H.  Hubbard,  Chester  D.  Hubbard,  Demas  Hubbard, 
James  R.  Hubbell,  Hulburd,  James  Humphrey,  Ingersoll,  Jenckes,  Julian, 
Kasson,  Kelley,  Kelso,  Ketchum,  Kuykendall,  Laflin,  Latham,  George  V. 
Lawrence,  William  Lawrence,  Loan,  Longyear,  Lynch,  Marston,  Marvin, 
McClurg,  Mclndoe,  McKee,  McRuer,  Mercur,  Miller,  Moorhead,  Morrill, 
Morris,  Moulton,  Myers,  Newell,  O'Neill,  Orthe,  Paine,  Patterson,  Perham, 
Phelps,  Pike,  Pomeroy,  Price,  William  H.  Randall,  Raymond,  Alexander  H. 
Rice,  John  H.  Rice,  Rollins,  Sawyer,  Schenck,  Scofield,  Shellabarger,  Smith, 
Spaulding,  Starr,  Stevens,  Stillwell,  Thayer,  John  L.  Thomas,  Trowbridge, 
Upson,  Van  Aernam,  Burt  Van  Horn,  Robert  Van  Horn,  Ward,  Warner, 
Elihu  B.  Washburne,  Welker,  Wentworth,  Whaley,  Williams,  James  F. 
Wilson,  Windom,  and  Woodbridge. 

The  following  members  voted  "  Nay :" 

Messrs.  Ancona,  Bergen,  Boyer,  Brooks,  Chanler,  Dawson,  Denison, 
Eldridge,  Finck,  Glossbrenner,  Goodyear,  Grider,  Aaron  Harding,  Hogan, 
James  M.  Humphrey,  Johnson,  Kerr,  LeBlond,  McCullough,  Niblack, 
Nicholson,  Noell,  Radford,  Samuel  J.  Randall,  Ritter,  Rogers,  Ross,  Shank- 
lin,  Sitgreaves,  Strouse,  Tabor,  Taylor,  Thornton,  Trimble,  Winfield,  and 
Wright. 

The  following  are  reported  as  "  not  voting :" 

Messrs.  Delos  R.  Ashley,  James  M.  Ashley,  Blaine,  Farquhar,  Harris, 
Edwin  N.  Hubbell,  Jones,  Marshall,  Plants,  Rousseau,  Sloan,  Francis 
Thomas,  Voorhees,  and  William  B.  Washburn. 

Thus  the  resolution  passed  the  House.  The  immense  size  of 
this  body  required  that,  by  stringent  rule,  debate  should  have 
limitation,  and  even  sometimes  be  cut  off  altogether  by  the  opera- 
tion of  previous  question.  This  arrangement  enabled  skillful  and 
resolute  leaders  to  carry  through  this  measure  within  an  hour's 
time,  Avhereas,  in  the  Senate,  a  body  of  less  than  one-third  the 


36  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

size,  it  passed  after  a  delay  of  several  days,  and  at  the  end  of  a 
discussion  of  considerable  length. 

On  the  day  following  the  passage  of  the  resolution  in  the 
House  of  Representatives,  it  was  read  in  the  Senate.  Mr,  John- 
son, of  Maryland,  objecting  to  its  being  considered  on  the  day  of 
its  reception,  under  a  regulation  of  the  Senate  it  was  postponed. 

After  the  lapse  of  a  week,  on  Tuesday,  December  12,  the 
resolution  was  taken  up  for  consideration  in  the  Senate.  Mr. 
Anthony  moved  to  amend  the  enacting  clause  so  as  to  change  it 
from  a  joint  resolution  to  a  concurrent  resolution,  since,  under  its 
original  shape,  \i  would  require  the  President's  approval. 

This  amendment  having  been  made,  Mr.  Anthony  moved  to 
further  amend  the  resolution  by  striking  out  all  after  the  word 
"otherwise."  The  following  are  the  words  proposed  to  be 
stricken  out: 

"And  until  such  report  shall  have  been  made  and  finally  acted  on  by 
Congress,  no  member  shall  be  received  into  either  house  from  any  of  the 
said  so-called  Confederate  States;  and  all  papers  relating  to  the  representa- 
tion of  said  States  shall  be  referred  to  the  said  committee  without  debate." 

Mr.  Howard,  of  Michigan,  preferred  the  resolution  as  it  came 
from  the  House  of  Representatives.  "  It  contains  within  itself  a 
pledge  on  the  part  of  the  two  houses,  that  until  the  report  of  this 
important  committee  shall  have  been  presented,  we  will  not  re- 
admit any  of  the  rebel  States,  either  by  the  recognition  of  their 
Senators  or  their  Representatives.  I  think  the  country  expects 
nothing  less  than  this  at  our  hands.  I  think  that  portion  of  the 
loyal  people  of  the  United  States  who  have  sacrificed  so  much 
of  blood  and  treasure  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war,  and  who 
secured  to  us  the  signal  victory  which  Ave  have  achieved  over 
the  rebellion,  have  a  right  to  at  least  this  assurance  at  our  hands, 
that  neither  house  of  Congress  will  recognize  as  States  any  one 
of  the  rebel  States  until  the  event  to  which  I  have  alluded. 

"  Sir,  what  is  the  present  position  and  status  of  the  rebel  States  ? 
In  my  judgment  they  are  simply  conquered  communities,  subju- 
gated by  the  arms  of  the  United  States ;  communities  in  which 
the  right  of  self-government  does  not  now  exist.  Why  ?  Because 
they  have  been  for  the  last  four  years  hostile,  to  the  most  surpris- 
ing unanimity  hostile,  to  the  authority  of  the  United  States,  and 
have,  during  that  period,  been  waging  a  bloody  war  against  that 


ON  BE CONSTRUCTION.  37 

authority.  They  are  simply  conquered  communities,  and  we  hold 
them,  as  we  know  well,  as  the  world  knows  to-day,  not  by  their 
own  free  will  and  consent  as  members  of  the  Union,  but  solely  by 
virtue  of  our  military  power,  which  is  executed  to  that  effect 
throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of  the  rebel  States.  There  is 
in  those  States  no  rightful  authority,  according  to  my  view,  at  this 
time,  but  that  of  the  United  States ;  and  every  political  act,  every 
governmental  act  exercised  within  their  limits,  must  necessarily 
be  exercised  and  performed  under  the  sanction  and  by  the  will  of 
the  conqueror. 

"  In  short,  sir,  they  are  not  to-day  loyal  States ;  their  population 
are  not  willing  to-day,  if  we  are  rightly  informed,  to  perform 
peaceably,  quietly,  and  efficiently  the  duties  which  pertain  to  the 
population  of  a  State  in  the  Union  and  of  the  Union ;  and  for 
one  I  can  not  consent  to  recognize  them,  even  indirectly,  as  en- 
titled to  be  represented  in  either  house  of  Congress  at  this  time. 
The  time  has  not  yet  come,  in  my  judgment,  to  do  this.  I  think 
that,  under  present  circumstances,  it  is  due  to  the  country  that 
we  should  give  them  the  assurance  that  we  will  not  thus  hastily 
readmit  to  seats  in  the  legislative  bodies  here  the  representatives 
of  constituencies  who  are  still  hostile  to  the  authority  of  the 
United  States.  I  think  that  such  constituencies  are  not  entitled 
to  be  represented  here." 

Mr.  Anthony,  of  Rhode  Island,  said :  "  The  amendment  was 
proposed  from  no  opposition  to  what  I  understand  to  be  the 
purpose  of  the  words  stricken  out.  That  purpose  I  understand 
to  be  that  both  houses  shall  act  in  concert  in  any  measures" 
which  they  may  take  for  the  reconstruction  of  the  States  lately 
in  rebellion.  I  think  that  that  object  is  eminently  desirable,  and 
not  only  that  the  two  houses  shall  act  in  concert,  but  that  Con- 
gress shall  act  in  concert  with  the  Executive;  that  all  branches 
of  the  Government  shall  approach  this  great  question  in  a  spirit 
of  comprehensive  patriotism,  with  confidence  in  each  other,  with 
a  conciliatory  temper  toward  each  other,  and  that  each  branch  of 
the  Government  will  be  ready,  if  necessary,  to  concede  something 
of  their  own  views  in  order  to  meet  the  views  of  those  who  are 
equally  charged  with  the  responsibility  of  public  affairs. 

"The  words  proposed  to  be  stricken  out  refer  to  the  joint 
committee  of  the  two  houses  of  Congress  matters  which  the  Con-*- 
stitution  confides  to  each  house  separately.     Each  house  is  made, 


88  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

by  the  Constitution,  the  judge  of  the  elections,  returns,  and  quali- 
fications of  its  own  members. 

"There  is  one  other  reason  why  I  move  this  amendment,  and 
that  is,  that  the  resolution  provides  that  papers  shall  be  referred 
to  this  committee  without  debate.  This  is  contrary  to  the  prac- 
tice of  the  Senate.  The  House  of  Representatives  has  found  it 
necessary,  for  the  orderly  transaction  of  its  business-,  to  put  limi- 
tations upon  debate,  hence  the  previous  question  and  the  hour 
rule ;  but  the  Senate  has  always  resisted  every  proposition  of  this 
kind,  and  submitted  to  any  inconvenience  rather  than  check  free 
discussion.  Senators  around  me,  who  were  here  in  the  minority, 
felt  that  the  right  of  debate  was  a  very  precious  one  to  them  at 
that  time,  and,  as  it  was  not  taken  from  them,  they  are  not  dis- 
posed to  take  it  from  the  minority  now. 

"  The  purpose  of  all  that  is  stricken  out  can  be  effected  by  the 
separate  action  of  the  two  houses,  if  they  shall  so  elect.  The 
House  of  Representatives,  having  passed  this  resolution  by  a  great 
vote,  will  undoubtedly  adopt,  in  a  separate  resolution,  what  is 
hefe  stricken  out ;  and,  except  so  far  as  relates  to  the  restriction 
upon  debate,  I  shall,  if  this  amendment  be  adopted  and  the  reso- 
lution passed,  offer  a  resolution  substantially  declaring  it  to  be 
the  opinion  of  the  Senate  that,  until  this  committee  reports — 
presuming  that  it  will  report  in  a  reasonable  time — no  action 
should  be  taken  upon  the  representation  of  the  States  lately  in 
rebellion." 

Mr.  Doolittle,  of  Wisconsin,  said :  "All  of  these  great  ques- 
tions, concerning  reconstruction,  pacification,  and  restoration  of 
civil  government  in  the  Southern  States,  representation  in  this 
body,  or  any  thing  which  concerns  of  Federal  relations  with  the 
several  States,  ought  to  be  referred  to  the  Committee  on  the  Judi- 
ciary. Such  has  been  the  practice  of  this  Government  from  the 
beginning.  Great  questions  of  constitutional  law,  questions  con- 
cerning the  relations  of  the  Union  to  the  States  and  the  States  to 
the  Union,  and  above  all,  and  without  any  exception,  all  ques- 
tions relating  to  representation  in  this  body,  to  its  membership, 
have  always  been  referred  to  the  Judiciary  Committee. 

"  There  is  nothing  in  the  history  of  the  Senate,  there  is  nothing 
in  the  constitution  of  this  committee,  which  would  send  these 
great  constitutional  questions  for  advisement  and  consideration 
to  any  other  committee  than  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary. 


ON  RECONSTRUCTION.  39 

To  place  their  consideration  in  the  hands  of  a  committee  which 
is  beyond  the  control  of  the  Senate,  is  to  distrust  ourselves ;  and 
to  vote  to  send  their  consideration  to  any  other  committee,  is 
equivalent  to  a  vote  of  want  of  confidence  in  the  Judiciary  Com- 
mittee. 

"  I  object  to  this  resolution,  because,  upon  these  great  questions 
which  are  to  go  to  the  joint  committee,  the  Senate  does  not  stand 
upon  an  equality  with  the  House.  This  resolution  provides  that, 
of  the  joint  committee  of  fifteen,  nine  shall  be  appointed  by  the 
House  of  Representatives,  six  only  by  the  Senate,  giving  to  the 
House  portion  of  the  committee  a  majority  of  three.  We  all 
know  that  in  joint  committees  the  members  vote,  not  as  the 
representatives  of  the  two  houses,  but  per  capita.  The  vote  of  a 
member  of  the  committee  from  the  House  weighs  precisely  the 
same  as  the  vote  of  a  member  of  the  committee  from  the  Senate ; 
so  that,  to  all  intents  and  purposes,  if  we  pass  this  concurrent 
resolution,  which  we  can  not  repeal  but  by  the  concurrence  of 
the  other  house,  we  place  the  consideration  of  these  grave  ques- 
tions in  the  hands  of  a  committee  which  we  can  not  control,  and 
in  which  we  have  no  equal  voice. 

"Under  the  Constitution,  upon  all  subjects  of  legislation  but 
one,  the  two  houses  are  equal  and  coordinate  branches  of  Con- 
gress. That  one  relates  to  their  representation  in  the  bodies,  to 
their  membership,  that  which  constitutes  their  existence,  which 
is  essential  to  their  life  and  their  independence.  That  is  confided 
to  each  house,  and  to  each  house  alone,  to  act  for  itself.  It  judges 
for  itself  upon  the  elections,  returns,  and  qualifications  of  its 
members.  It  judges,  it  admits,  it  punishes,  it  expels.  It  can 
not  share  that  responsibility  with  any  other  department  Of  the 
Government.  It  can  no  more  share  it  with  the  other  house  than 
it  can  share  it  with  the  Supreme  Court  or  with  the  President. 
It  is  a  matter  over  which  its  jurisdiction  is  exclusive  of  every 
other  jurisdiction.  It  is  a  matter  in  which  its  decisions,  right 
or  wrong,  are  absolute  and  without  appeal.  In  my  opinion  the 
Senate  of  the  United  States  can  not  give  to  a  committee  beyond 
its  control  this  question  of  the  representation  in  this  body,  with- 
out a  loss  of  its  self-respect,  its  dignity,  its  independence ;  with- 
out an  abandonment  of  its  constitutional  duty  and  a  surrender 
of  its  constitutional  powers. 

"There  is  another  provision  in  this  resolution,  as  it  stands, 


40  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

that  we  shall  refer  every  paper  to  the  committee  without  debate. 
Yes,  sir,  the  Senate  of  the  United  States  is  to  be  led  like  a  lamb 
to  the  slaughter,  bound  hand  and  foot,  shorn  of  its  constitutional 
power,  and  gagged,  dumb,  like  the  sheep  brought  to  the  block ! 
Is  this  the  condition  to  which  the  Senator  from  Michigan  pro- 
poses to  reduce  the  Senate  of  the  United  States  by  insisting  upon 
such  a  provision  as  that  contained  in  the  resolution  as  it  conies 
from  the  House  of  Representatives  ? 

"There  is  a  still  graver  objection  to  this  resolution  as  it  stands. 
The  provision  that  i  until  such  report  shall  have  been  made  and 
finally  acted  on  by  Congress,  no  member  shall  be  received  into 
either  house  from  any  of  the  so-called  Confederate  States/  is  a 
provision  which,  by  law,  excludes  those  eleven  States  from  their 
representation  in  the  Union.  Sir,  pass  that  resolution  as  it  stands, 
and  let  it  receive  the  signature  of  the  President,  and  you  have 
accomplished  what  the  rebellion  could  not  accomplish,  what  the 
sacrifice  of  half  a  million  men  could  not  accomplish  in  warring 
against  this  Government — you  have  dissolved  the  Union  by  act 
of  Congress.  Sir,  are  we  prepared  to  sanction  that?  I  trust 
never. 

"The  Senator  from  Michigan  talks  about  the  status  of  these 
States.  He  may  very  properly  raise  the  question  whether  they 
have  any  Legislatures  that  are  capable  of  electing  Senators  to  this 
body.  That  is  a  question  of  fact  to  be  considered;  but  as  to 
whether  they  are  States,  and  States  still  within  the  Union,  not- 
withstanding their  civil  form  of  government  has  been  overturned 
by  the  rebellion,  and  their  Legislatures  have  been  disorganized, 
that  they  are  still  States  in  this  Union  is  the  most  sacred  truth 
and  tke  dearest  truth  to  every  American  heart,  and  it  will  be 
maintained  by  the  American  people  against  all  opposition,  come 
from  'what  quarter  it  may.  Sir,  the  flag  that  now  floats  on  the 
top  of  this  Capitol  bears  thirty-six  stars.  Every  star  represents  a 
State  in  this  Union.  I  ask  the  Senator  from  Michigan,  does  that 
flag,  as  it  floats  there,  speak  the  nation's  truth  to  our  people  and 
to  the  world,  or  is  it  a  hypocritical,  flaunting  lie  ?  That  flag  has 
been,  borne  at  the  head  of  our  conquering  legions  through  the 
whole  South,  planted  at  Vicksburg,  planted  at  Columbia,  Savan- 
nah, Charleston,  Sumter;  the  same  old  flag  which  came  down 
before  the  rebellion  at  Sumter  was  raised  up  again,  and  it  still 
bore  the  same  glorious  stars ;  '  not  a  star  obscured/  not  one. 


OK  RECONSTRUCTION.  U 

"These  people  have  been  disorganized  in  their  civil  govern- 
ments in  consequence  of  the  war ;  the  rebels  overturned  civil  gov- 
ernment in  the  first  place,  and  we  entered  with  our  armies  and 
captured  the  rebellion;  but  did  that  destroy  the  States?  Not  at 
all.  We  entered  the  States  to  save  them,  not  to  destroy  them. 
The  guarantee  of  the  Constitution  is  a  guarantee  to  the  States, 
and  to  every  one  of  the  States,  and  the  obligation  that  rests  upon 
us  is  to  guarantee  to  South  Carolina  a  republican  form  of  govern- 
ment as  a  State  in  this  Union,  and  not  as  a  Territory.  No  State 
nor  the  people  of  any  State  had  any  power  to  withdraw  from  the 
Union.  They  could  not  do  it  peacefully ;  they  undertook  to  do  it 
by  arms.  We  crushed  the  attempt;  we  trampled  their  armies 
under  our  feet;  we  captured  the  rebellion;  the  States  are  ours; 
and  we  entered  them  to  save,  and  not  to  destroy. 

"  The  Constitution  of  the  United  States  requires  the  President, 
from  time  to  time,  to  give  to  Congress  information  of  the  state  of 
the  Union.  Who  has  any  right  to  presume  that  the  President 
will  not  furnish  the  information  which  his  constitutional  duty  re- 
quires ?  He  has  at  his  control  all  the  agencies  which  are  neces- 
sary. There  is  the  able  Cabinet  who  surround  him,  with  all  the 
officers  appointed  under  them :  the  post-masters  under  the  Post- 
office  Department,  the  treasury  agents  under  the  Treasury  Depart- 
ment, and  almost  two  hundred  thousand  men  under  the  control 
of  the  War  Department,  in  every  part  of  this  '  disaffected'  region, 
who  can  bring  to  the  President  information  from  every  quarter 
of  all  the  transactions  that  exist  there.  That  the  President  of 
the  United  States  will  be  sustained,  in  the  views  which  he  takes 
in  his  message,  by  the  people  of  this  country,  is  as  certain  as  the 
revolutions  of  the  earth ;  and  it  is  our  duty  to  act  harmoniously 
with  him,  to  sustain  him,  to  hold  up  his  hands,  to  strengthen  his 
heart,  to  speak  to  him  words  of  faith,  friendship,  and  courage. 

"  I  know  that  in  all  these  Southern  States  there  are  a  thousand 
things  to  give  us  pain,  sometimes  alarm,  but  notwithstanding  the 
bad  appearance  which  from  time  to  time  presents  itself  in  the 
midst  of  that  boiling  caldron  of  passion  and  excitement  Avhich 
the  war  has  left  still  raging  there,  the  real  progress  which  we 
have  made  has  been  most  wonderful.  I  am  one  of  those  who 
look  forward  with  hope,  for  I  believe  God  reigns  and  rules  in 
the  affairs  of  mankind.  I  look  beyond  the  excitement  of  the 
hour   and  all  the  outbreaking  passion  which   sometimes  shows 


b<2  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

itself  in  the  South,  which  leads  them  to  make  enactments  in  their 
Legislatures  which  are  disgraceful  to  themselves,  and  can  never  be 
sanctioned  by  the  people  of  this  country,  and  also  in  spite  of  all 
the  excitement  of  the  North,  I  behold  the  future  full  of  confi- 
dence and  hope.  We  have  only  to  come  up  like  men,  and  stand 
as  the  real  friends  of  the  country  and  the  Administration,  and 
give  to  the  policy  of  the  President  a  fair  and  substantial  trial,  and 
all  will  be  well." 

Mr.  Fessenden,  of  Maine,  then  remarked  :  "  When  this  resolu- 
tion was  first  promulgated  in  the  newspapers  as  having  been 
agreed  upon,  I  approved  it  because  I  sympathized  with  its  object 
and  purpose.  I  did  not  examine  it  particularly;  but,  looking 
simply  at  what  it  was  designed  for,  it  met  my  approbation  simply 
for  this  reason:  that  this  question  of  the  readmission  of  these 
Confederate  States,  so  called,  and  all  the  questions  connected  with 
that  subject,  I  conceived  to  be  of  infinite  importance,  requiring 
calm  and  serious  consideration,  and  I  believe  that  the  appoint- 
ment of  a  committee,  carefully  selected  by  the  two  houses,  to 
take  that  subject  into  consideration,  was  not  only  wise  in  itself, 
but  an  imperative  duty  resting  upon  the  representatives  of  the 
people  in  the  two  branches  of  Congress.  For  myself,  I  was  not 
prepared  to  act  upon  that  question  at  once.  I  am  not  one  of  those 
who  pin  their  faith  upon  any  body,  however  eminent  in  position, 
or  conceive  themselves  obliged,  on  a  question  of  great  national 
importance,  to  follow  out  any  body's  opinions  simply  because  he 
is  in  a  position  to  make  those  opinions,  perhaps,  somewhat  more 
imperative  than  any  other  citizen  of  the  republic.  Talk  about 
the  Administration!  Sir,  we  are  a  part  of  the  Administration, 
and  a  very  important  part  of  it.  I  have  no  idea  of  abandoning 
the  prerogatives,  the  rights,  and  the  duties  of  my  position  in 
favor  of  any  body,  however  that  person  or  any  number  of  persons 
may  desire  it.  In  saying  this,  I  am  not  about  to  express  an 
opinion  upon  the  subject  any  further  than  I  have  expressed  it, 
and  that  is,  that  in  questions  of  such  infinite  importance  as  this, 
involving  the  integrity  and  welfare  of  the  republic  in  all  future 
time,  we  are  solemnly  bound,  and  our  constituents  will  demand 
of  us  that  we  examine  them  with  care  and  fidelity,  and  act  on  our 
own  convictions,  and  not  upon  the  convictions  of  others. 

"  I  do  not  agree  with  the  honorable  Senator  from  Wisconsin, 
that  by  passing  a  simple  resolution  raising  a  committee  of  our 


ON  RECONSTRUCTION.  43 

own  body,  and  referring  to  it  certain  papers,  if  we  conclude  to  do 
so,  we  are  infringing  upon  the  rights  of  any  body  or  making  an 
intimation  with  regard  to  any  policy  that  the  President  may  have 
seen  fit  to  adopt  and  recommend  to  the  country.  Sir,  I  trust 
there  are  no  such  things  as  exclusive  friends  of  the  President 
among  us,  or  gentlemen  who  desire  to  be  so  considered.  I  have 
as  much  respect  for  the  President  of  the  United  States  probably 
as  any  man.  I  acted  with  him  long,  and  I  might  express  the 
favorable  opinions  which  I  entertain  of  him  here,  if  they  would 
not  be  out  of  place  and  in  bad  taste  in  this  body.  That  I  am 
disposed  and  ready  to  support  him  to  the  best  of  my  ability,  as 
every  gentleman  arouncWme  is,  in  good  faith  and  with  kind  feel- 
ing in  all  that  he  may  desire  that  is  consistent  with  my  views  of 
duty  to  the  country,  giving  him  credit  for  intentions  as  good  as 
mine,  and  with  ability  far  greater,  I  am  ready  to  asseverate. 

"  But,  sir,  I  do  not  agree  with  the  doctrine,  and  I  desire  to  en- 
ter my  dissent  to  it  now  and  here,  that,  because  a  certain  line  of 
policy  has  been  adopted  by  one  branch  of  the  Government,  or 
certain  views  are  entertained  by  one  branch  of  the  Government, 
therefore,  for  that  reason  alone  and  none  other,  that  is  to  be  tried, 
even  if  it  is  against  my  judgment ;  and  I  do  not  say  that  it  is  or 
is  not.  That  is  a  question  to  be  considered.  I  have  a  great  re- 
spect, not  for  myself,  perhaps,  but  for  the  position  which  I  hold 
as  a  Senator  of  the  United  States ;  and  no  measure  of  Govern- 
ment, no  policy  of  the  President,  or  of  the  head  of  a  department, 
shall  pass  me  while  I  am  a  Senator,  if  I  know  it,  until  I  have 
exanlined  it  and  given  my  assent  to  it ;  not  on  account  of  the 
source  from  which  it  emanates,  but  on  account  of  its  own  intrin- 
sic merits,  and  because  I  believe  it  will  result  in  the  good  of  my 
country.  That  is  my  duty  as  a  Senator,  and  I  fear  no  miscon- 
struction at  home  on  this  subject  or  any  other. 

"Now,  therefore,  sir,  I  hope  that,  laying  aside  all  these  mat- 
ters, which  are  entirely  foreign,  we  shall  act  upon  this  resolution 
simply  as  a  matter  of  business.  No  one  has  a  right  to  complain 
of  it  that  we  raise  a  committee  for  certain  purposes  of  our  own 
when  we  judge  it  to  be  necessary.  It  is  an  imputation  upon  no- 
body; it  is  an  insult  to  nobody;  it  is  not  any  thing  which  any 
sensible  man  could  ever  find  fault  with,  or  be  disposed  to  do  so. 
It  is  our  judgment,  our  deliberate  judgment,  our  friendly  judg- 
ment— a  course  of  action  adopted  from  regard  to  the  good  of  the 


44  THE  TSIETT-JVIJVTE  CONGRESS. 

community,  and  that  good  of  the  community  comprehends  the 
good  of  every  individual  in  it." 

Mr.  Saulsbury,  of  Delaware,  said :  "  This  resolution  is  very 
objectionable  to  my  mind.  It  is  for  the  appointment  of  a  com- 
mittee of  the  two  houses  to  determine  and  to  report  upon  what? 
The  right  of  representation  of  eleven  States  in  this  body.  What 
determines  the  rights  of  those  States  to  representation  here?  Is 
it  the  views  of  the  members  of  the  House  of  Representatives? 
Do  we  stand  in  need  of  any  light,  however  bright  it  may  be,  that 
may  come  from  that  distinguished  quarter?  Are  we  going  to 
ask  them  to  illuminate  us  by  wisdom,  and  report  the  fact  to  us 
whether  those  States  are  entitled  to  representation  on  this  floor? 

"  Mr.  President,  on  the  first  day  of  your  assemblage  after  the 
battle  of  Manassas,  you  and  they  declared,  by  joint  resolution, 
that  the  object  for  which  the  war  was  waged  was  for  no  purpose 
of  conquest  or  subjugation,  but  it  was  to  preserve  the  union  of 
the  States,  and  to  maintain  the  rights,  dignity,  and  equality  of 
the  several  States  unimpaired.  While  that  war  was  being  waged 
there  was  no  action,  either  of  this  house  or  of  the  House  of 
Representatives,  declaring  that,  when  it  was  over,  the  existence 
of  those  States  should  be  ignored,  or  their  right  to  representation 
in  Congress  denied.  Throughout  the  whole  contest  the  battle- 
cry  was  '  the  preservation  of  the  Union '  and  '  the  Union  of  the 
States.'  If  there  was  a  voice  then  raised  that  those  States  had 
ceased  to  have  an  existence  in  this  body,  it  was  so  feeble  as  to  be 
passed  by  and  totally  disregarded. 

"  Sir,  suppose  this  committee  should  report  that  those  States  are 
not  entitled  to  representation  in  this  body,  are  you  bound  by  their 
action  ?  Is  there  not  a  higher  law,  the  supreme  law  of  the  land, 
which  says  if  they  be  States  that  they  shall  each  be  entitled  to  two 
Senators  on  this  floor  ?  And  shall  a  report  of  a  joint  committee 
of  the  two  houses  override  and  overrule  the  fundamental  law  of 
the  land  ?  Sir,  it  is  dangerous  as  a  precedent,  and  I  protest  against 
it  as  an  humble  member  of  this  body.  If  they  be  not  States,  then 
the  object  avowed  for  which  the  war  was  waged  was  false." 

Mr.  Hendricks,  of  Indiana,  said :  "  I  shall  vote  against  this 
resolution  because  it  refers  to  a  joint  committee  a  subject  which, 
according  to  my  judgment,  belongs  exclusively  to  the  Senate.  I 
know  that  the  resolution  no  longer  provides  in  express  terms  that 
the  Senate,  pending  the  continuance  of  the  investigation  of  this 


ON  RECONSTRUCTION.  4$ 

committee,  will  not  consider  the  question  of  credentials  from  these 
States,  but  in  effect  it  amounts  to  that.  The  question  is  to  be 
referred  to  the  committee,  and  according  to  usage,  and  it  would 
seem  to  be  the  very  purpose  of  reference  that  the  body  shall  not 
consider  the  subject  while  the  question  is  before  them.  I  could 
not  vote  for  a  resolution  that  refers  to  a  joint  committee  a  subject 
that  this  body  alone  can  decide.  If  there  are  credentials  presented 
here,  this  body  must  decide  the  question  whether  the  person  pre- 
senting the  credentials  is  entitled  to  a  seat ;  and  how  can  this 
body  be  influenced  by  any  committee  other  than  a  committee 
that  it  shall  raise  itself?" 

Mr.  Trumbull,  of  Illinois,  then  followed:  "If  I  understood 
the  resolution  as  the  Senator  from  Indiana  does,  I  should  cer- 
tainly vote  with  him ;  but  I  do  not  so  understand  it.  It  is 
simply  a  resolution  that  a  joint  committee  be  raised  to  inquire 
into  the  condition  of  the  States  which  formed  the  so-called  Con- 
federate States  of  America,  and  to  report  whether  they  or  any 
of  them  are  entitled  to  be  represented  in  either  House  of  Con- 
gress, with  leave  to  report  at  any  time  by  bill  or  otherwise.  It 
is  true,  as  the  Senator  says,  that  after  having  raised  this  commit- 
tee, the  Senate  will  not  be  likely  to  take  action  in  regard  to  the 
admission  of  the  Senators  from  any  of  these  States  until  the 
committee  shall  have  had  a  reasonable  time  at  least  to  act  and 
report;  but  it  is  very  desirable  that  we  should  have  joint  action 
upon  this  subject.  It  would  produce  a  very  awkward  and  unde- 
sirable state  of  things  if  the  House  of  Representatives  were  to 
admit  members  from  one  of  the  lately  rebellious  States,  and  the 
Senate  were  to  refuse  to  receive  Senators  from  the  same  State. 

"  We  all  know  that  the  State  organizations  in  certain  States  of 
the  Union  have  been  usurped  and  overthrown.  This  is  a  fact  of 
which  we  must  officially  take  notice.  There  was  a  time  when  the 
Senator  from  Indiana,  as  well  as  myself,  would  not  have  thought 
of  receiving  a  Senator  from  the  Legislature,  or  what  purported  to 
be  the  Legislature,  of  South  Carolina.  When  the  people  of  that 
State,  by  their  Representatives,  undertook  to  withdraw  from  the 
Union  and  set  up  an  independent  government  in  that  State,  in 
hostility  to  the  Union,  when  the  body  acting  as  a  Legislature 
there  was  avowedly  acting  against  this  Government,  neither  he 
nor  I  would  have  received  Representatives  from  it.  That  was  a 
usurpation  which,  by  force  of  arms,  we  have  put  down.     Now  the 


46  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

question  arises,  Has  a  State  government  since  been  inaugurated 
there  entitled  to  representation  ?  Is  not  that  a  fair  subject  of 
inquiry  ?  Ought  we  not  to  be  satisfied  upon  that  point  ?  We  do 
not  make  such  an  inquiry  in  reference  to  members  that  come  from 
States  which  have  never  undertaken  to  deny  their  allegiance  to 
the  Government  of  the  United  States.  Having  once  been  ad- 
mitted as  States,  they  continue  so  until  by  some  positive  act  they 
throw  off  their  allegiance,  and  assume  an  attitude  of  hostility  to 
the  Government,  and  make  war  upon  it ;  and  while  in  that  con- 
dition, I  know  we  should  all  object  that  they,  of  course,  could  not 
be  represented  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States.  Now,  is  it 
not  a  proper  subject  for  inquiry  to  ascertain  whether  they  have 
assumed  a  position  in  harmony  with  the  Government  ?  and  is  it 
not  proper  that  that  inquiry  should  be  made  the  subject  of  joint 
action?" 

Mr.  Guthrie,  of  Kentucky,  wished  to  ask  the  friends  of  this 
resolution  if  it  was  contemplated  that  this  committee  should  take 
evidence,  and  report  that  evidence  to  the  two  houses.  "  If,"  said 
he,  "  they  are  only  to  take  what  is  open  to  every  member  of  the 
Senate,  the  fact  that  the  rebellion  has  been  suppressed ;  the  fact 
that  the  President  of  the  United  States  has  appointed  officers  to 
collect  the  taxes,  and,  in  some  instances,  judges  and  other  officers; 
that  he  has  sent  the  post-office  into  all  the  States;  that  there  have 
been  found  enough  individuals  loyal  to  the  country  to  accept  the 
offices ;  the  fact  that  the  President  has  issued  his  proclamation  to 
all  these  States,  appointing  Provisional  Governors ;  that  they  have 
all  elected. conventions;  that  the  conventions  have  rescinded  the 
ordinances  of  secession ;  that  most  of  them  have  amended  their 
constitutions  and  abolished  slavery,  and  the  Legislatures  of  some 
of  them  have  passed  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution  on  the 
subject  of  slavery — if  they  are  only  to  take  these  facts,  which  are 
open  and  clear  to  us  all,  I  can  see  no  necessity  for  such  a  com- 
mittee. My  principal  objection  to  the  resolution  is,  that  this 
committee  can  give  us  no  information  which  we  do  not  now 
possess,  coupled  with  the  fact  that  the  loyal  conservative  men  of 
the  United  States,  North,  South,  East,  and  West,  do  most 
earnestly  desire  that  we  shall  so  act  that  there  shall  be  no  longer 
a  doubt  that  we  are  the  United  States  of  America,  in  full  accord 
and  harmony  with  each  other. 


ON  RECONSTRUCTION.  47 

"  I  know  it  has  been  said  that  the  President  had  no  authority 
to  do  these  things.  I  read  the  Constitution  and  the  laws  of  this 
country  differently.  He  is  to  '  take  care  that  the  laws  be  faith- 
fully executed;'  he  is  to  suppress  insurrection  and  rebellion.  The 
power  is  put  in  his  hands,  and  I  do  not  see  why,  when  he  marches 
into  a  rebel  State,  he  has  not  authority  to  put  down  a  rebel  gov- 
ernment and  put  up  a  government  that  is  friendly  to  the  United 
States,  and  in  accordance  with  it.  I  do  not  see  why  he  can  not 
do  that  while  the  war  goes  on,  and  I  do  not  see  why  he  may  not 
do  it  after  the  war  is  over.  The  people  in  those  States  lie  at  the 
mercy  of  the  nation.  I  see  no  usurpation  in  what  he  has  done, 
and  if  the  work  is  well  done,  I,  for  one,  am  ready  to  accept  it. 
Are  we  to  send  out  a  commission  to  see  what  the  men  whom  he 
has  appointed  have  done?  It  is  said  that  they  are  not  to  be 
relied  on ;  that  they  have  been  guilty  of  treason,  and  we  will  not 
trust  them.  I  hope  that  no  such  ideas  will  prevail  here.  I  think 
this  will  be  a  cold  shock  to  the  warm  feelings  of  the  nation  for 
restoration,  for  equal  privileges  and  equal  rights.  They  were  in 
insurrection.  We  have  suppressed  that  insurrection.  They  are 
now  States  of  the  Union ;  and  if  they  come  here  according  to  the 
laws  of  the  States,  they  are  entitled,  in  my  judgment,  to  repre- 
sentation, and  we  have  no  right  to  refuse  it.  They  are  in  a 
minority,  and  they  would  be  in  a  minority  even  if  they  meant 
now  what  they  felt  when  they  raised  their  arms  against  the 
Government;  but  they  do  not,  and  of  those  whom  they  will 
send  here  to  represent  them,  nineteen  out  of  twenty  will  be  just 
as  loyal  as  any  of  us — even  some  of  those  who  took  up  arms 
against  us. 

"  I  really  hope  to  see  some  one  move  a  modification  of  the  test 
oath,  so  that  those  who  have  repented  of  their  disloyalty  may 
not  be  excluded,  for  I  really  believe  that  a  great  many  of  those 
who  took  up  arms  honestly  and  wished  to  carry  out  the  doctrines 
of  secession,  and  who  have  succumbed  under  the  force  of  our 
arms  and  the  great  force  of  public  opinion,  can  be  trusted  a  great 
deal  more  than  those  who  did  not  fight  at  all. 

"  To  conclude,  gentlemen,  I  see  no  great  harm  in  this  resolu- 
tion except  the  procrastination  that  will  result  from  it,  and  that 
will  give  us  nothing  but  what  we  have  before  us." 

The  question  being  taken,  the  resolution,  as  amended,  passed 
the  Senate,  thirty-three  voting  in  the  affirmative  and  eleven  in 


48  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

the  negative.     The  following  are  the  names  of  those  who  voted 
for  the  resolution: 

Messrs.  Anthony,  Brown,  Chandler,  Clark,  Conness,  Creswell,  Fessenden, 
Foot,  Foster,  Grimes,  Harris,  Howard,  Howe,  Lane  of  Indiana,  Lane  of 
Kansas,  Morgan,  Morrill,  Norton,  Nye,  Poland,  Pomeroy,  Ramsey,  Sherman, 
Sprague,  Stewart,  Sumner,  Trumbull,  Van  Winkle,  Wade,  Willey,  Williams, 
Wilson,  and  Yates. 

The  following  Senators  voted  against  the  resolution : 

Messrs.  Buckalew,  Cowan,  Dixon,  Doolittle,  Guthrie,  Hendricks,  Johnson, 
Riddle,  Saulsbury,  Stockton,  and  Wright. 

Five  Senators  were  absent :  Messrs.  Cragin,  Davis,  Henderson, 
McDougall,  and  Nesmith. 

On  the  day  succeeding  the  adoption  of  the  concurrent  resolu- 
tion by  the  Senate,  the  amendments  of  that  body  came  before  the 
House  of  Representatives.  Mr.  Thaddeus  Stevens  moved  that 
the  House  concur  in  the  amendments  of  the  Senate.  He  said : 
"The  Senate  took  what  to  them  appeared  to  be  the  proper  view 
of  their  prerogatives,  and,  though  they  did  not  seem  to  differ 
with  us  as  to  the  main  object,  the  mode  of  getting  at  it  with 
them  w^as  essential,  and  they  very  properly  put  the  resolution  in 
the  shape  they  considered  right.  They  have  changed  the  form 
of  the  resolution  so  as  not  to  require  the  assent  of  the  President  j 
and  they  have  also  considered  that  each  house  should  determine 
for  itself  as  to  the  reference  of  papers,  by  its  own  action  at  the 
time.  To  this  I  see  no  objection,  and,  while  moving  to  concur, 
I  will  say  now,  that  when  it  is  in  order  I  shall  move,  or  some 
other  gentleman  will  move  when  his  State  is  called,  a  resolution 
precisely  similar,  or  very  nearly  similar,  to  the  provision  wThich 
the  Senate  has  stricken  out,  only  applicable  to  the  House  alone." 

The  House  then  concurred  in  the  amendments  of  the  Senate, 
so  the  resolution  passed  in  the  following  form: 

"Besolved,  by  the  House  of  Representatives  (the  Senate  concurring),  That 
a  joint  committee  of  fifteen  members  shall  be  appointed,  nine  of  whom  shall 
be  members  of  the  House,  and  sis  members  of  the  Senate,  who  shall  inquire 
into  the  condition  of  the  States  which  formed  the  so-called  Confederate 
States  of  America,  and  report  whether  they,  or  any  of  them,  are  entitled  to 
be  represented  in  either  house  of  Congress,  with  leave  to  report  at  any  time, 
by  bill  or  otherwise." 


ON  RECONSTRUCTION.  49 

A  resolution  subsequently  passed  the  House,  "  That  all  papers 
offered  relative  to  the  representation  of  the  late  so-called  Confed- 
erate States  of  America,  shall  be  referred  to  the  joint  committee 
of  fifteen  without  debate,  and  no  members  shall  be  admitted  from 
either  of  said  so-called  States  until  Congress  shall  declare  such 
States  entitled  to  representation." 

On  the  fourteenth  of  December  the  Speaker  announced  the 
names  of  the  committee  on  the  part  of  the  House.  They  were : 
Thaddeus  Stevens,  Elihu  B.  Washburn,  Justin  S.  Morrill,  Henry 
Grider,  John  A.  Bingham,  Roscoe  Conkling,  George  S.  Boutwell, 
Henry  T.  Blow,  and  Andrew  J.  Rogers. 

On  the  twenty-first  of  December  the  following  gentlemen  were 
announced  as  members  of  the  committee  on  the  part  of  the  Senate : 
William  Pitt  Fessenden,  James  W.  Grimes,  Ira  Harris,  Jacob  M. 
Howard,  Reverdy  Johnson,  and  George  H.  Williams. 

Thus,  before  the  adjournment  of  Congress  for  the  holidays, 
the  Joint  Committee  of  Fifteen  on  Reconstruction  had  been  ap- 
pointed and  empowered  to  proceed  with  investigations  of  the 
utmost  importance  to  the  country.  Hated  by  the  late  insurgents 
of  the  South,  who  expected  little  leniency  at  its  hands;  opposed 
by  politicians  at  the  North,  who  viewed  it  as  an  obstacle  in  the 
way  of  their  designs,  and  even  misrepresented  by  the  President 
nimself,  who  stigmatized  it  as  a  "Central  Directory,"  this  com- 
mittee went  forward  in  the  discharge  of  its  important  duties, 
without  fear  or  favor,  having  a  marked  influence  upon  the  doings 
of  Congress  and  the  destinies  of  the  country. 

Meanwhile  other  important  measures  were  enlisting  the  atten- 
tion of  Congress,  and  were  proceeding,  by  the  slow  but  steady 
steps  of  parliamentary  progress,  to  their  final  consummation. 
4 


50  THE  THIBTT-JYINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER   IV. 

SUFFRAGE  IN  THE  DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA. 

Duty  of  Congress  to  legislate  for  tiie  District  of  Columbia— Suffrage 
Bill  introduced  into  the  House— Speech  by  Mr.  Wilson— Mr.  Boyer 
—Mr.  Schofield— Mr.  Kelley— Mr.  Eogers— Mr.  Farnsworth— Mr. 
Davis— Mr.  Chanler— Mr.  Bingham— Mr.  Grinnell— Mr.  Kasson— 
Mr.  Julian— Mr.  Thomas— Mr.  Darling— Mr.  Hale's  amendment— Mr. 
Thayer— Mr.  Van  Horn— Mr.  Clarke— Mr.  Johnson— Mr.  Boutwell. 

WHATEVER  differences  of  opinion  may  exist  as  to  the 
authority  of  Congress  to  legislate  for  States  loyal  or  dis- 
loyal, or  for  Territories,  there  is  entire  unanimity  as  to  the 
power  and  duty  of  Congress  to  enact  laws  for  the  District  of  Co- 
lumbia. Here  there  is  no  countercurrent  of  "reserved  rights" 
or  "  State  sovereignty  "  opposed  to  the  authority  of  Congress. 

Congress  being  responsible  for  the  legislation  of  the  District 
of  Columbia,  we  naturally  look  in  that  direction  for  an  exhibition 
in  miniature  of  the  policy  of  the  national  legislature  on  questions 
relating  to  the  interests  of  the  nation  at  large.  If  slavery  flour- 
ished and  the  slave-market  existed  in  the  capital,  it  was  because 
a  majority  of  the  people  of  the  United  States  were  willing.  So 
soon  as  the  nation  became  antislavery,  the  "peculiar  institution" 
could  no  longer  exist  in  the  District  of  Columbia,  although  it 
might  still  survive  in  other  localities. 

The  General  Government  having  become  completely  disen- 
thralled from  the  dominion  of  slavery,  and  a  wide-spread  opinion 
prevailing  at  the  North  that  all  loyal  men  should  enjoy  the  right 
of  suffrage,  the  members  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress  convened 
with  a  sense  of  duty  impelling  them  to  begin  the  great  wobIc  of 
political  reform  at  the  capital  itself.  Hence  Mr.  Wade,  as  we 
have  seen,  on  the  first  day  of  the  session,  introduced  "  Senate  bill 
Number  One,"  designed,  as  its  title  declared,  "to  regulate  the 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  51 

elective  franchise  in  the  District  of  Columbia."  In  the  House 
of  Representatives,  on  the  second  day  of  the  session,  Mr.  Kel- 
ley  introduced  "a  bill  extending  the  right  of  suffrage  in  the 
District  of  Columbia."  This  bill  was  referred  to  the  Judiciary 
Committee. 

In  the  House  of  Representatives,  on  the  18th  of  December, 
Mr.  Wilson,  chairman  of  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  re- 
ported a  bill  extending  the  right  of  suffrage  in  the  District  of 
Columbia.  The  bill  provided  that  from  all  laws  and  parts  of 
laws  prescribing  the  qualification  of  electors  for  any  office  in  the 
District  of  Columbia,  the  word  "  white  "  should  be  stricken  out ; 
also,  that  from  and  after  the  passage  of  the  bill,  no  person  should 
be  disqualified  from  voting  at  any  election  held  in  the  District  of 
Columbia  on  account  of  color;  also,  that  all  acts  of  Congress,  and 
all  laws  of  the  State  of  Maryland  in  force  in  the  District  of 
Columbia,  and  all  ordinances  of  the  cities  of  Washington  and 
Georgetown  inconsistent  with  the  provisions  of  the  bill,  should  be 
repealed  and  annulled. 

This  bill  was  made  the  special  order  for  Wednesday  the  10th  of 
January. 

Mr.  Wilson,  of  Iowa,  whose  duty  it  was,  as  chairman  of  the 
Judiciary  Committee,  to  report  the  bill,  opened  the  discussion  by 
speaking  as  follows  in  favor  of  the  measure : 

"  Can  we  excuse  ourselves  in  continuing  a  limitation  on  the 
right  of  suffrage  in  the  capital  of  the  republic  that  has  no  justifi- 
cation in  reason,  justice,  or  in  the  principles  on  which  we  profess 
to  have  based  our  entire  political  system?  Upon  this  question 
there  seems  to  have  been  but  little  difference  of  opinion  among 
the  men  who  laid  the  foundation  and  built  the  superstructure  of 
this  Government.  In  those  days  no  limitation  was  placed  upon 
the  enjoyment  of  the  defensive  rights  of  the  citizen,  including 
the  right  of  suffrage,  on  account  of  the  color  of  the  skin,  except 
in  the  State  of  South  Carolina.  All  of  the  other  States  partici- 
pating in  the  formation  of  the  Government  of  the  United  States 
had  some  limitation,  based  on  sex,  or  age,  or  property  placed 
upon  the  right  of  suffrage ;  but  none  of  them  so  far  forgot  the 
spirit  of  our  Constitution,  the  great  words  of  the  Declaration  of 
Independence,  or  the  genius  of  our  institutions,  as  to  inquire  into 
the  color  of  a  citizen  before  allowing  him  the  great  defensive  right 
of  the  ballot.     It  is  true,  that  as  the  republic  moved  off  in  its 


52  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

grand  course  among  the  nations  a  change  occurred  in  the  minds 
and  practices  of  the  people  of  a  majority  of  the  States.  The  love 
of  liberty,  because  of  its  own  great  self,  and  not  because  of  its 
application  to  men  of  a  particular  color,  lost  its  sensitive  charac- 
ter and  active  vitality.  The  moral  sense  of  the  people  became 
dormant  through  the  malign  influence  of  that  tolerated  enemy  to 
all  social  and  governmental  virtue,  human  slavery.  The  public 
conscience  slumbered,  its  eyes  closed  with  dollars  and  its  ears 
stuffed  with  cotton.  When  these  things  succeeded  the  active  jus- 
tice, abounding  mercy,  and  love  of  human  rights  of  the  earlier 
days,  State  after  State  fell  into  the  dark  line  of  South  Carolinian 
oppression,  and  adopted  her  anti-republican  limitation  of  the 
right  of  suffrage.  A  few  States  stood  firm  and  kept  their  faith, 
and  to-day,  when  compared  with  the  bruised  and  peeled  and  op- 
pression-cursed  State  of  South  Carolina,  stand  forth  as  shining 
examples  of  the  great  rewards  that  are  poured  upon  the  heads  of 
the  just.  Massachusetts  and  South  Carolina,  the  one  true,  the 
other  false  to  the  faith  and  ideas  of  the  early  life  of  the  nation, 
should  teach  us  how  safe  it  is  to  do  right,  and  how  dangerous  it 
is  to  do  wrong;  how  much  safer  it  is  to  do  justice  than  it  is  to 
practice  oppression. 

"  But,  sir,  not  the  States  alone  fell  into  this  grievous  error. 
The  General  Governmeift  took  its  stand  upon  the  side  of  injus- 
tice, and  apostatized  from  the  true  faith  of  the  nation,  by  depriv- 
ing a  portion  of  its  citizens  of  the  political  right  of  self-defense, 
the  use  of  the  ballot.  What  good  has  come  to  us  from  this  apos- 
tasy ?  Take  the  history  of  the  municipal  government  of  this  city, 
and  what  is  there  in  its  pages  to  make  an  American  feel  proud 
of  the  results  of  this  departure  from  the  principles  of  true  de- 
mocracy? Is  there  a  worse  governed  city  in  all  the  republic? 
Where  in  all  the  country  was  there  to  be  found  such  evidences 
of  thriftless  dependence  as  in  this  city  before  the  cold  breath  of 
the  North  swept  down  here  during  the  rebellion  and  imparted  a 
little  of  '  Yankee '  vigor  to  its  business  and  population  ?  Where 
within  the  bounds  of  professed  fidelity  to  the  Government  was 
true  loyalty  at  a  lower  ebb,  and  sympathy  with  the  rebellion  at 
higher  flood ;  freedom  more  hated,  and  emancipation  more  roundly 
denounced;  white  troops  harder  to  raise,  and  black  ones  more 
heartily  despised;  Union  victories  more  coldly  received,  and  re- 
verses productive  of  less  despondency,  than  right  among  that  por- 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  53 

tion  of  the  voting  population  and  its  adjuncts  which  control  the 
local  elections  in  this  District?  "With  what  complaisance  the 
social  elements  of  this  capital  fostered  the  brood  of  traitors  who 
rushed  hence  to  the  service  of  the  rebellion  in  1861 !  Are  these 
fruits  of  our  errors  pleasing  ? 

"  I  would  not  be  vindictive,  I  would  be  just.  I  do  not  want 
to  legislate  against  the  white  citizen  for  the  purpose  of  advancing 
the  interests  of  th'e  colored  citizen.  It  is  best  to  guard  against 
all  such  legislation.  Let  the  laws  which  we  pass  here  be  of  such 
pure  republican  character,  that  no  person  can  tell  from  the  read- 
ing of  them  what  color  is  stamped  upon  the  faces  of  the  citizens 
of  the  United  States.  Let  us  have  no  class  legislation,  no  class 
privileges.  Let  our  laws  be  just  and  uniform  in  their  operation. 
This  is  the  smooth  sea  upon  which  our  ship  of  state  may  sail ; 
all  others  are  tempestuous  and  uncertain. 

"  And  now,  Mr.  Speaker,  who  are  the  persons  upon  whom  this 
bill  will  operate,  if  we  shall  place  it  upon  the  statute-book  of  the 
nation  ?     They  are  citizens  of  the  United  States  and  residents  of 
the  District  of  Columbia.     It  is  true  that  many  of  them  have 
black   faces,  but  that  is  God's  work,  and  he  is  wiser  than  we. 
Some  of  them  have  faces  marked  by  colors  uncertain ;  that  is  not 
God's  fault.     Those  who  hate  black  men  most  intensely  can  tell 
more  than  all  others  about  this  mixture  of  colors.     But,  mixed 
or  black,  they  are  citizens  of  this  republic,  and  they  have  been, 
and  are  to-day,  true  and  loyal  to  their  Government ;  and  this  is  I 
vastly  more  than  many  of  their  contemners  can  claim  for  them-  r 
selves.     In  this  District  a  white  skin  was  not  the  badge  of  loy- 
alty, while  a  black  skin  was.     No  traitor  breathed  the  air  of  this 
capital  Avearing  a  black  skin.     Through  all  the  gradations   of 
traitors,  from  Wirz  to  Jeff.  Davis,  criminal  eyes  beamed  from 
white  faces.     Through  all  phases  of  treason,  from  the  bold  stroke  / 
of  Lee  upon  the  battle-field  to  the  unnatural  sympathy  of  those  • 
who  lived  within  this  District,  but  hated  the  sight  of  their  coun-  • 
try's  flag,  runs  the  blood  which  courses  only  under  a  white  sur-  • 
face.     While  white  men  were  fleeing  from  this  city  to  join  their 
fortunes  with  the  rebel  cause,  the  returning  wave  brought  black 
faces  in  their  stead.     White  enemies  went  out,  black  friends  came 
in.    As  true  as  truth  itself  were  these  poor  men  to  the  cause  of  this 
imperiled  nation.    Wherever  we  have  trusted  them,  they  have  been 
true.    Why  will  we  not  deal  justly  by  them  ?    Why  shall  we  not, 


54  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

in  this  District,  where  the  first  effective  legislative  blow  fell  upon 
slavery,  declare  that  these  suffering,  patient,  devoted  friends  of  the 
republic  shall  have  the  power  to  protect  their  own  rights  by  their 
own  ballots  ?  Is  it  because  they  are  ignorant  ?  Sir,  we  are  estopped 
from  that  plea.  It  comes  too  late.  We  did  not  make  this  inquiry 
in  regard  to  the  white  voter.  It  is  only  when  we  see  a  man  with 
a  dark  skin  that  we  think  of  ignorance.  Let  us  not  stand  on  this 
now  in  relation  to  this  District.  The  fact  itself  is  rapidly  passing 
away,  for  there  is  no  other  part  of  the  population  of  the  Dis- 
trict so  diligent  in  the  acquisition  of  knowledge  as  the  colored 
portion.  In  spite  of  the  difficulties  placed  in  their  pathway  to 
knowledge  by  the  white  residents,  the  colored  people,  adults  and 
children,  are  pressing  steadily  on. 

"  Taken  as  a  class,  they  surely  show  themselves  possessed  of 
enough  of  the  leaven  of  thrift,  education,  morality,  and  religion  to 
render  it  safe  for  us  to  make  the  experiment  of  impartial  suffrage 
here.  Let  us  make  the  trial.  A  failure  can  work  no  great  harm, 
for  to  us  belongs  the  power  to  make  any  change  which  the  future 
may  show  to  be  necessary.  How  can  we  tell  whether  success  or 
failure  shall  be  the  fruit  of  a  practical  application  of  the  principles 
upon  which  our  institutions  rest,  unless  we  put  them  to  a  fair  test  ? 
Give  every  man  a  fair  chance  to  show  how  well  he  can  discharge 
the  duties  of  fully  recognized  citizenship.  This  is  the  way  to 
solve  the  problem,  and  in  no  other  way  can  it  be  determined. 
That  success  will  attend  the  experiment  I  do  not  doubt.  Others 
believe  the  result  wTill  prove  quite  the  reverse.  Who  is  right  and 
who  wrong  can  be  ascertained  only  by  putting  the  two  opinions 
to  a  practical  test.  The  passage  of  this  bill  will  furnish  this  test, 
and  to  that  end  I  ask  for  it  the  favorable  consideration  of  this 
house." 

Mr.  Boyer,  of  Pennsylvania,  said  :  "  The  design  of  this  bill  is 
to  inaugurate  here,  upon  this  most  conspicuous  stage,  the  first  act 
of  the  new  political  drama  which  is  intended  to  culminate  in  the 
complete  political  equality  of  the  races  and  the  establishment  of 
negro  suffrage  throughout  the  States.    Constitutional  amendments 

o  o  o 

with  this  view  have  been  already  introduced  at  both  ends  of  the 
Capitol.  The  object  of  the  leaders  of  this  movement  is  no  longer 
concealed ;  and  if  there  is  any  thing  in  their  action  to  admire,  it 
is  the  candor,  courage,  and  ability  with  which  they  press  their 
cause.     The  agitation  is  to  go  on  until  the  question  has  been  set- 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  55 

tied  by  the  country,  and  it  may  as  well  be  met  here  upon  the 
threshold.  The  monstrous  proposition  is  nothing  less  than  the 
absorption  into  the  body  politic  of  the  nation  of  a  colored  popu- 
lation equal  to  one-sixth  of  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  country,  as 
the  census  reports  will  show.  Four  millions  of  the  population  so 
to  be  amalgamated  have  been  just  set  free  from  a  servitude,  the 
debasing  influences  of  which  have  many  a  time  been  vividly  de- 
picted in  the  antislavery  speeches  of  the  very  men  who  are  the 
most  prominent  champions  of  this  new  political  gospel. 

"  The  argument  in  favor  of  the* American  negro's  right  to  vote 
must  be  measured  by  his  capacity  to  understand  and  his  ability  to 
use  such  right  for  the  promotion  of  the  public  good.  And  that  is 
the  very  matter  in  dispute.  But  the  point  does  not  turn  simply 
upon  the  inferiority  of  the  negro  race;  for  differences  without 
inferiority  may  unfit  one  race  for  political  or  social  assimilation 
with  another,  and  render  their  fusion  in  the  same  government 
incompatible  with  the  general  welfare.  It  is,  as  I  conceive, 
upon  these  principles  that  we  must  settle  the  question  whether 
this  is  a  white  man's  government. 

"  The  negro  has  no  history  of  civilization.  From  the  earliest 
ages  of  recorded  time  he  has  ever  been  a  savage  or  a  slave.  He 
has  populated  with  teeming  millions  the  vast  extent  of  a  conti- 
nent, but  in  no  portion  of  it  has  he  ever  emerged  from  barbar- 
ism, and  in  no  age  or  country  has  he  ever  established  any  other 
stable  government  than  a  despotism.  But  he  is  the  most  obedi- 
ent and  happy  of  slaves. 

"  Of  all  men,  the  negroes  themselves  are  best  contented  with 
their  situation.  They  are  not  the  prime  movers  in  the  agitations 
which  concern  them.  An  examination  of  the  tables  of  the  last 
census  will  demonstrate  that  they  do  not  attach  much  importance 
to  political  rights.  It  will  be  found  that  the  free  people  of  color 
are  most  numerous  in  some  of  those  States  which  accord  them  the 
fewest  political  privileges ;  and  in  those  States  which  have  granted 
them  the  right  of  suffrage  they  seem  to  see  but  few  attractions. 
In  Maryland  there  were,  in  1860,  83,942  free  people  of  color;  in 
Pennsylvania,  56,949;  in  Ohio,  36,673.  In  neither  of  those 
States  were  they  voters.  In  the  State  of  New  York,  where  they 
could  not  vote  except  under  a  property  qualification,  which  ex- 
cluded the  most  of  them,  they  numbered  49,005.  But  in  Mas- 
sachusetts, where  they  did  then  and  do  now  vote,  there  were  but 


56  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

9,602.  And  in  all  New  England,  (except  Connecticut,  where  they 
are  not  allowed  to  vote,)  there  were  at  the  last  census  but  16,084. 
If  the  American  negro,  in  his  desire  and  capacity  for  self-govern- 
ment, bore  any  resemblance  to  the  Caucasian,  he  would  distinguish 
himself  by  emigration ;  and,  spurning  the  soil  which  had  enslaved 
his  race,  he  would  seek  equality  and  independence  in  a  more  con- 
genial clime.  But  the  spirit  of  independence  and  hardy  manhood 
which  brought  the  Puritans  to  the  shores  of  a  New  England  wil- 
derness he  lacks.  He  will  not  even  go  to  Massachusetts  now, 
although,  instead  of  a  stormy  ocean,  his  barrier  is  only  an  imag- 
inary State  line,  and  instead  of  a  howling  wilderness,  he  is  invited 
to  a  land  resounding  with  the  myriad  voices  of  the  industrial  arts, 
and  instead  of  painted  savages  with  uplifted  tomahawks,  he  has 
reason  to  expect  a  crowd  of  male  and  female  philanthropists,  with 
beaming  faces  and  outstretched  hands!,  to  wekome  him  and  call 
him  brother.  There  will  he  find  lecturers  to  prove  his  equality, 
and  statesmen  to  claim  him  as  an  associate  ruler  in  the  land.  If 
he  cares  for  these  things,  or  is  fit  for  them,  why  does  he  linger 
outside  upon  the  very  borders  of  his  political  Eden  ?  Why  does 
he  not  enter  into  it — avoiding  Connecticut  in  his  route — and  take 
possession  ?  The  fact  is,  that  the  fine  political  theories  set  up  in 
his  behalf  are  not  in  accordance  with  the  natural  instinct  of  the 
negro,  which,  in  this  particular,  is  truer  than  the  philosophy  of 
his  white  advisers.  » 

"They  are  but  superficial  thinkers  who  imagine  that  the 
organic  differences  of  races  can  be  obliterated  by  the  education 
of  the  schools.  The  qualities  of  races  are  perpetuated  by  descent, 
and  are  the  result  of  historical  influences  reaching  far  back  into 
the  generations  of  the  past.  An  educated  negro  is  a  negro  still. 
The  cunning  of  the  chisel  of  a  Canova  could  not  make  an  endur- 
ing Corinthian  column  out  of  a  block  of  anthracite ;  not  because 
of  its  color,  but  on  account  of  the  structure  of  its  substance.  He 
might  indeed,  with  infinite  pains,  give  it  the  form,  but  he  could 
not  impart  to  it  the  strength  and  adhesion  of  particles  required 
to  enable  it  to  brave  the  elements,  and  the  temple  it  was  made 
to  support  would  soon  crumble  into  ruin." 

Mr.  Schofield,  of  Pennsylvania,  said :  "  The  cheapest  elevator 
and  best  moralizer  for  an  oppressed  and  degraded  class  is  to  in- 
spire them  with  self-respect,  with  the  belief  in  the  possibility  of 
their  elevation.     Bestow  the  elective  franchise  upon  the  colored 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  57 

population  of  this  District,  and  yon  awaken  the  hope  and  ambi- 
tion of  the  whole  race  throughout  the  country.  Hitherto  pun- 
ishment has  been  the  only  incentive  to  sobriety  and  industry 
furnished  these  people  by  American  law.  They  were  kept  too 
low  to  feel  disgrace,  and  reward  was  inconsistent  with  the  theory 
of '  service  owed.'  Let  us  try  now  the  persuasive  power  of  wages 
and  protection.  If  colored  suffrage  is  still  considered  an  experi- 
ment, this  District  is  a  good  place  in  which  to  try  it.  The  same 
objections  do  not  exist  here  that  are  urged  on  behalf  of  some  of 
the  States.  No  constitutional  question  intervenes.  Here,  at 
least,  Congress  is  supreme.  The  law  can  be  passed,  and  if  it  is 
found  to  be  bad,  a  majority  can  repeal  it.  The  colored  race  is  too 
small  in  numbers  here  to  endanger  the  supremacy  of  the  white 
people,  but  large  and  loyal  enough  to  counteract  to  some  extent 
disloyal  proclivities. 

"Both  the  precept  and  practice  of  our  fathers  refute  the  alle- 
gation that  this  is  exclusively  a  white  man's  government.  If  we 
can  not  now  consent  to  so  slight  a  recognition,  as  proposed  by 
this  bill,  of  the  great  underlying  theory  of  our  Government,  as 
declared  and  practiced  by  our  fathers,  we  are  thrown  back  upon 
that  new  and  monstrous  doctrine,  that  the  five  millions  of  our 
colored  population,  and  their  posterity  forever,  have  no  rights 
that  a  white  man  is  bound  to  respect. 

"  Who  pronounces  this  crushing  sentence  ?  The  political 
South.  And  what  is  this  South?  The  Southern  master  and  his 
Northern  minion.  Have  these  people  wronged  the  South? 
Have  they  filled  it  with  violence,  outrage,  and  murder  ?  No,  sir ; 
they  are  remarkably  gentle,  patient,  and  respectful.  Have  they 
despoiled  its  wealth  or  diminished  its  grandeur?  No,  sir;  their 
unpaid  toil  has  made  the  material  South.  They  removed  the 
forests,  cleared  the  fields,  built  the  dwellings,  churches,  colleges, 
cities,  highways,  railroads,  and  canals.  Why,  then,  does  the 
South  hate  and  persecute  these  people?  Because  it  has  wronged 
them.  Injustice  always  hates  its  victim.  They  are  forced  to 
look  to  the  North  for  justice.  And  what  is  the  North?  Not  the 
latitude  of  frosts ;  not  New  England  and  the  States  that  border 
on  the  lakes,  the  Mississippi,  and  the  Pacific.  The  geographical 
is  lost  in  the  political  meaning  of  the  word.  The  North,  in  a 
political  sense,  means  justice,  liberty,  and  union,  and  in  the  order 
in  which  I  have  named  them.     Jefferson  defined   this  'North' 


58  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

when  he  wrote  'all  men  are  created  equal,  endowed  by  their 
Creator  with  certain  inalienable  rights,  among  which  are  life, 
liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness.'  This  North  has  no  geo- 
graphical boundaries.  It  embraces  the  friends  of  freedom  in 
every  quarter  of  this  great  republic.  Many  of  its  bravest  cham- 
pions hail  from  the  geographical  South.  The  North,  that  did 
not  fear  the  slave  power  in  its  prime,  in  the  day  of  its  political 
strength  and  patronage,  when  it  commanded  alike  the  nation  and 
the  mob,  and  for  the  same  cruel  purpose,  will  not  be  intimidated 
by  its  expiring  maledictions  around  this  capital.  The  North 
must  pass  this  bill  to  vindicate  its  sincerity  and  its  courage.  The 
slave  power  has  already  learned  that  the  North  is  terrible  in  war, 
and  forgiving  and  gentle  in  peace ;  let  its  crushed  and  mangled 
victims  learn  from  the  passage  of  this  bill,  that  the  justice  of  the 
North,  unlimited  by  lines  of  latitude,  unlimited  by  color  or  race, 
slumbereth  not." 

Mr.  Kelley,  of  Pennsylvania,  followed :  "  In  preparing  to  be- 
gin the  work  of  reconstructing  the  grandest  of  human  govern- 
ments, shattered  for  a  time  by  treason,  and  in  endeavoring  to 
ascertain  what  we  should  do,  and  how  and  when  it  should  be 
done,  I  have  consulted  no  popular  impulse.  Groping  my  way 
through  the  murky  political  atmosphere  that  has  prevailed  for 
more  than  thirty*  years,  I  have  seated  myself  at  the  feet  of  the 
fathers  of  our  country,  that  I  might,  as  far  as  my  suggestions 
would  go,  make  them  in  accordance  with  the  principles  of  those 
who  constructed  our  Government.  I  can  make  no  suggestion  for 
the  improvement  of  the  primary  principles  or  general  structure  of 
our  Government,  and  I  would  heal  its  wounds  so  carefully  that  it 
should  descend  to  posterity  unstained  and  unmarred  as  it  came, 
under  the  guidance  of  Providence,  from  the  hands  of  those  who 
fashioned  it. 

"For  whom  do  we  ask  this  legislation?  In  1860,  according 
to  the  census,  there  were  fourteen  thousand  three  hundred  and 
sixteen  colored  people  in  this  District,  and  we  ask  this  legislation 
for  the  male  adults  of  that  number.  Are  they  in  rags  and  filth 
and  degradation?  The  tax-books  of  the  District  will  tell  you 
that  they  pay  taxes  on  $1,250,000  worth  of  real  estate,  held 
within  the  limits  of  this  District.  On  one  block,  on  which  they 
pay  taxes  on  fifty  odd  thousand  dollars,  there  are  but  two  colored 
freeholders  who   have   not   bought   themselves    out  of  slavery. 


/k^^y. 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  59 

One  of  them  has  bought  as  many  as  eight  persons  beside  him- 
self—a wifc  and  seven  children.  Coming  to  freedom  in  man- 
hood, mortgaged  for  a  thousand  or  fifteen  hundred  dollars  as  his 
own  price,  he  has  earned  and  carried  to  the  Southern  robber 
thousands  of  dollars,  the  price  extorted  for  his  wife  and  children, 
*and  is  now  a  freeholder  in  this  District.  They  have  twenty-one 
churches,  which  they  own,  and  which  they  maintain  at  an  an- 
nual cost  of  over  twenty  thousand  dollars.  Their  communing 
members  number  over  forty-three  hundred.  In  their  twenty- 
two  Sunday-schools  they  gather  on  each  Sabbath  over  three  thou- 
sand American  children  of  African  descent.  They  maintain,  sir, 
to  the  infamous  disgrace  of  the  American  Congress  and  people, 
thirty-three  day  schools,  eight  of  which  arc  maintained  exclu- 
sively by  contributions  from  colored  citizens  of  the  District;  the 
remainder  by  their  contributions,  eked  out  by  contributions  from 
the  generous  people  of  the  North  ;  and  every  dollar  of  their 
million  and  a  quarter  dollars  of  real  estate  and  personal  property 
is  taxed  for  schools  to  educate  the  children  of  the  white  people 
of  the  District,  the  fathers  of  many  of  those  children  having  been 
absent  during  1 1 1 « -  war  fighting  for  the  Confederacy  and  against 
our  constitutional  flag.  Who  shall  reproach  them  with  being 
poor  and  ignorant  while  Congress,  which  lias  exclusive  jurisdic- 
tion over  the  District,  has,  till  last  year,  robbed  them  day  by  day, 
and  barred  the  door  of  the  public  school  against  them  ?  Such 
reproach  does  not  lie  in  the  white  man's  mouth  ;  at  any  rate,  no 
member  of  the  Democratic  party  ought  to  utter  it." 

The  debate  was  continued  on  the  day  following.  Mr.  Eogers, 
of  New  Jersey,  having  obtained  the  floor,  addressed  the  House 
for  two  hours.  He  said  :  "  I  hold  that  there  never  has  been,  in 
the  legislation  of  the  United  States,  a  bill  which  involved  so 
momentous  consequences  as  that  now  under  consideration,  because 
nowhere  in  the  history  of  this  country,  from  the  time  that  the 
first  reins  of  party  strife  were  drawn  over  the  land,  was  any  po- 
litical party  ever  known  to  advocate  the  doctrine  now  advocated 
by  a  portion  of  the  party  on  the  other  side  of  this  House,  except 
within  the  last  year,  and  during  the  heat  and  strife  of  battle  in 
the  land.  The  wisdom  of  ages  for  more  than  five  thousand  years, 
and  the  most  enlightened  governments  that  ever  existed  upon  the 
face  of  the  earth,  have  handed  down  to  us  that  grand  principle 
that  all  governments  of  a  civilized  character  have  been  and  were 


60  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

intended  especially  for  the  benefit  of  white  men  and  white  women, 
and  not  for  those  who  belong  to  the  negro,  Indian,  or  mulatto  race. 

"  It  is  the  high  prerogative  which  the  political  system  of  this 
country  has  given  to  the  masses,  rich  and  poor,  to  exercise  the 
right  of  suffrage  and  declare,  according  to  the  honest  convictions 
of  their  hearts,  who  shall  be  the  officers  to  rule  over  them.' 
There  is  no  privilege  so  high,  there  is  no  right  so  grand.  It 
lies  at  the  very  foundation  of  this  Government;  and  when  you 
introduce  into  the  social  system  of  this  country  the  right  of  the 
African  race  to  compete  at  the  ballot-box  with  the  intelligent 
white  citizens  of  this  country,  you  are  disturbing  and  embitter- 
ing the  whole  social  system ;  you  rend  the  bonds  of  a  common 
political  faith ;  you  break  up  commercial  intercourse  and  the  free 
interchanges  of  trade,  and  you  degrade  the  people  of  this  country 
before  the  eyes  of  the  envious  monarchs  of  Europe,  and  fill  our 
history  with  a  record  of  degradation  and  shame. 

"  Why,  then,  should  we  attempt  at  this  time  to  inflict  the  sys- 
tem of  negro  suffrage  upon  those  who  happen  to  be  so  unfortunate 
as  to  reside  in  the  District  of  Columbia?  This  city  bears  the 
name  of  George  Washington,  the  father  of  our  country ;  and  as 
it  was  founded  by  him,  so  I  wish  to  hand  it  down  to  those  who 
shall  come  after  us,  preserving  that  principle  which  declares  that 
the  sovereignty  is  in  the  white  people  of  the  country,  for  whose 
benefit  this  Government  was  established.  I  am  not  ready  to 
believe  that  those  men  who  have  laid  down  their  lives  in  the 
battles  of  the  late  revolution,  who  came  from  their  homes  like 
the  torrents  that  sweep  over  their  native  hills  and  mountains, 
those  men  who  gathered  round  the  sacred  precincts  of  the  tomb 
of  Washington  to  uphold  and  perpetuate  our  proud  heritage  of 
liberty,  intended  to  inflict  upon  the  people  of  this  District,  or  of 
this  land,  the  monstrous  doctrine  of  political  equality  of  the  negro 
race  with  the  white  at  the  ballot-box. 

"  No  such  dogma  as  this  was  ever  announced  by  the  Eepublican 
party  in  their  platforms.  When  that  party  met  at  Chicago,  in 
1860,  they  took  pains  to  enunciate  the  great  principle  of  self-gov- 
ernment which  underlies  the  institutions  of  this  country,  that  each 
State  has  the  right  to  control  its  own  domestic  policy  according 
to  its  own  judgment  exclusively.  I  ask  the  gentlemen  on  the 
other  side  of  the  house  to  allow  the  people  of  the  District  of 
Columbia  to  exercise  the  same  great  right  of  self-government,  to 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  61 

determine  by  their  votes  at  the  ballot-box  whether  they  desire  to 
inaugurate  a  system  of  political  equality  with  the  colored  people 
of  the  District. 

"  Self-government  was  the  great  principle  which  impelled  our 
fathers  to  protest  against  the  powers  of  King  George.  That  was 
the  principle  which  led  the  brave  army  of  George  Washington 
across  the  ice  of  the  river  Delaware.  It  was  the  principle  which 
struck  a  successful  blow  against  despotism,  and  planted  liberty 
upon  this  continent.  It  was  the  principle  that  our  fathers  claimed 
the  Parliament  of  England  had  no  right  to  invade,  and  drove 
the  colonies  into  rebellion,  because  laws  were  passed  without  their 
consent  by  a  Parliament  in  which  tkey  were  unrepresented. 

"  I  am  here  to-day  to  plead  for  the  white  people  of  this  District, 
upon  the  same  grounds  taken  by  our  fathers  to  the  English  Par- 
liament, in  favor  of  self-government  and  the  right  of  the  people 
of  the  District  to  be  heard  upon  this  all-important  question.  Al- 
though we  may  have  a  Legal  yet  we  have  no  moral  right,  according 
to  the  immutable  principles  of  justice,  and  according  to  the  declara- 
tion of  Holy  Writ,  that  we  should  do  unto  others  as  we  would 
they  should  do  unto  us,  to  inflict  upon  the  people  of  this  Dis- 
trict this  fiendish  doctrine  of  political  equality  with  a  race  that 
God  Almighty  never  intended  should  stand  upon  an  equal  footing 
with  the  white  man  and  woman  in  social  or  civil  life." 

Mr.  Farns worth,  of  Illinois,  replied :  "  He  [Mr.  Rogers]  says 
this  is  a  white  man's  Government.  '  A  white  man's  Government ! ' 
Why,  sir,  did  not  the  Congress  of  the  United  States  pass  a  law 
for  enrolling  into  the  service  of  the  United  States  the  black  man 
as  well  as  the  white  man?  Did  not  we  tax  the  black  man  as 
well  as  the  white  man?  Does  he  not  contribute  his  money  as 
well  as  his  blood  for  the  protection  and  defense  of  the  Govern- 
ment? O,  yes;  and  now,  when  the  black  man  comes  hobbling 
home  upon  his  crutches  and  his  wooden  limbs,  maimed  for  life, 
bleeding,  crushed,  wounded,  is  he  to  be  told  by  the  people  who 
called  him  into  the  service  of  the  Government,  '  This  is  a  white 
man's  Government;  you  have  nothing  to  do  with  it?'  Shame! 
I  say,  eternal  shame  upon  such  a  doctrine,  and  upon  the  men  who 
advocate  it ! 

"  What  should  be  the  test  as  to  the  right  to  exercise  the  elective 
franchise  ?  I  contend  that  the  only  question  to  be  asked  should 
be,  '  Is  he  a  man? '    The  test  should  be  that  of  manhood,  not  that 


62  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

of  color,  or  races,  or  class.  Is  he  endowed  with  conscience  and 
reason?  Is  he  an  immortal  being?  If  these  questions  are  an- 
swered in  the  affirmative,  he  has  the  same  right  to  protection  that 
we  all  enjoy. 

"I  am  in  favor,  Mr.  Speaker,  of  making  suffrage  equal  and 
universal.  I  believe  that  greater  wisdom  is  concentrated  in  the 
decisions  of  the  ballot-box  when  all  citizens  of  a  certain  age 
vote  than  when  only  a  part  vote.  If  you  apply  a  test  founded 
on  education  or  intelligence,  where  will  you  stop  ?  One  man  will 
say  that  the  voter  should  be  able  to  read  the  Constitution  and  to 
write  his  name ;  another,  that  he  should  be  acquainted  with  the 
history  of  the  United  States ;  another  will  demand  a  still  higher 
degree  of  education  and  intelligence,  until  you  will  establish  an 
aristocracy  of  wisdom,  which  is  one  of  the  worst  kinds  of  aris- 
tocracy. Sir,  the  men  who  formed  this  Government,  who  believed 
in  the  rights  of  human  nature,  and  designed  the  Government  to 
protect  them,  believed,  I  think,  as  I  do,  that  when  suffrage  is  made 
universal,  you  concentrate  in  the  ballot-box  a  larger  amount  of 
wisdom  than  when  you  exclude  a  portion  of  the  citizens  from  the 
right  of  suffrage. 

"  I  grant,  sir,  that  many  of  the  colored  men  whom  I  would  en- 
franchise are  poor  and  ignorant,  but  we  have  made  them  so.  We 
have  oppressed  them  by  our  laws.  We  have  stolen  them  from 
their  cradles  and  consigned  them  to  helpless  slavery.  The  shackles 
are  now  knocked  from  their  limbs,  and  they  emerge  from  the  house 
of  bondage  and  stand  forth  as  men.  Let  us  now  take  the  next 
grand  step,  a  step  which  must  commend  itself  to  our  judgment 
and  consciences.  Let  us  clothe  these  men  with  the  rights  of  free- 
men, and  give  them  the  power  to  protect  their  rights. 

"  Sir,  as  I  have  already  remarked,  we  have  passed  through  a 
fiery  ordeal.  There  are  but  few  homes  within  our  land  that  are 
not  made  desolate  by  the  loss  of  a  son  or  a  father.  The  widow 
and  the  orphan  meet  us  wherever  we  turn.  The  maimed  and 
crippled  soldiers  of  the  republic  are  every-where  seen.  Many 
fair  fields  have  become  cemeteries,  where  molder  the  remains  of 
the  noble  men  who  have  laid  down  their  lives  in  defense  of  our 
Government.  We  thought  that  we  had  attained  the  crisis  of  our 
troubles  during  the  progress  of  the  war.  But  it  has  been  said  that 
the  ground-swell  of  the  ocean  after  the  storm  is  often  more  dan- 
gerous to  the  mariner  than  the  tempest  itself;  and  I  am  inclined  to 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  63 

think  that  this  is  true  in  reference  to  the  present  posture  of  our  na- 
tional affairs.  The  storm  has  apparently  subsided ;  but,  sir,  if  we  fail 
to  do  our  duty  now  as  a  nation — and  that  duty  is  so  simple  that  a 
child  can  understand  it ;  no  elaborate  argument  need  enforce  it,  as 
no  sophistry  can  conceal  it;  it  is  simply  to  give  to  one  man  the 
same  rights  that  we  give  to  another — if  we  fail  now  in  this  our 
plain  duty  as  a  nation,  then  the  ship  of  state  is  in  more  peril  from 
this  ground-swell  on  which  we  are  riding  than  it  was  during  the 
fierce  tempest  of  war.  I  trust  that  this  Congress  will  have  the 
firmness  and  wisdom  to  guide  the  old  ship  safely  into  the  haven 
of  peace  and  security.  This  we  can  do  by  fixing  our  eyes  upon 
the  guiding  star  of  our  fathers — the  equal  rights  of  all  men." 

The  discussion  was  resumed  on  the  following  day,  January  12, 
by  Mr.  Davis,  of  New  York  :  "  Republican  government  can  never 
rest  safely,  it  can  never  rest  peacefully,  upon  any  foundation  save 
that  of  the  intelligence  and  virtue  of  its  subjects.  No  govern- 
ment, republican  in  form,  was  ever  prosperous  where  its  people 
were  ignorant  and  debased.  And  in  .this  Government,  where 
our  fathers  paid  so  much  attention  to  intelligence,  to  the  cultiva- 
tion of  virtue,  and  to  all  considerations  which  should  surround 
and  guard  the  foundations  of  the  republic,  I  am  sure  that  we 
would  do  dishonor  to  their  memory  by  conferring  the  franchise 
upon  men  unfitted  to  receive  it  and  unworthy  to  exercise  it. 

"  I  am  perfectly  aware  that  in  many  States  we  have  given  the 
elective  franchise  to  the  white  man  who  is  debased  and  ignorant. 
I  regret  it,  because  I  think  that  intelligence  ought  always,  either 
as  to  the  black  or  the  white  man,  to  be  made  a  test  of  suffrage. 
And  I  glory  in  the  principles  that  have  been  established  by  Mas- 
sachusetts, which  prescribes,  not  that  a  man  should  have  money 
in  his  purse,  but  that  he  should  have  in  his  head  a  cultivated 
brain,  the  ability  to  read  the  Constitution  of  his  country,  and 
intelligence  to  understand  his  rights  as  a  citizen. 

"  I  have  never  been  one  of  those  who  believed  that  the  black 
man  had  'no  rights  that  the  white  man  was  bound  to  respect.' 
I  believe  that  the  black  man  in  this  country  is  entitled  to  citizen- 
ship, and,  by  virtue  of  that  citizenship,  is  entitled  to  protection, 
to  the  full  power  of  this  Government,  wherever  he  may  be  found 
on  the  face  of  God's  earth ;  that  he  has  a  right  to  demand  that 
the  shield  of  this  Government  shall  be  held  over  him,  and  that 
its  powers  shall  be  exerted  on  his  behalf  to  the  same  extent  as 


64  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

if  he  were  the  proudest  grandee  of  the  land.  But,  sir,  citizen- 
ship is  one  thing,  and  the  right  of  suffrage  is  another  and  a 
different  thing;  and  in  circumstances  such  as  exist  around  us,  I 
am  unwilling  that  general,  universal,  unrestricted  suffrage  should 
be  granted  to  the  black  men  of  this  District,  as  is  proposed  by 
the  bill  under  consideration. 

"This  whole  subject  is  within  the  power  of  Congress,  and  if 
we  grant  restricted  privilege  to-day,  we  can  extend  the  exercise 
of  that  privilege  to-morrow.  Public  sentiment  on  this,  as  on  a 
great  many  subjects,  is  a  matter  of  slow  growth  and  develop- 
ment. That  is  the  history  of  the  world.  Development  upon  all 
great  subjects  is  slow.  The  development  of  the  globe  itself  has 
required  countless  ages  before  it  was  prepared  for  the  introduc- 
tion of  man  upon  it.  And  take  the  progress  of  the  human  race 
through  the  historic  age — kingdoms  and  empires,  systems  of 
social  polity,  systems  of  religion,  systems  of  science,  have  been 
of  no  rapid  growth,  but  long  centuries  intervened  between  their 
origin  and  their  overthrow. 

"  The  Creator  placed  man  on  earth,  not  for  the  perfection  of 
the  individual,  but  the  race;  and  therefore  he  locked  up  the 
mysteries  of  his  power  in  the  bosom  of  the  earth  and  in  the 
depths  of  the  heavens,  rendering  them  invisible  to  mankind. 
He  made  man  study  those  secrets,  those  mysteries,  in  order  that 
his  genius  might  be  cultivated,  his  views  enlarged,  his  intellect 
matured,  so  that  he  might  gradually  rise  in  the  scale  of  being, 
and  finally  attain  the  full  perfection  for  which  his  Creator  de- 
signed him. 

"  Thus  governments,  political  systems,  and  political  rights  have 
been  the  subjects  of  study  and  improvement;  changes  adapted 
to  the  advance  of  society  are  made ;  experiments  are  tried,  based 
upon  reason  and  upon  judgment,  and  those  are  safest  which  in 
their  gradual  introduction  avoid  unnecessary  violence  and  con- 
vulsion. 

"I  submit,  sir,  whether  it  be  wise  for  us  now  so  suddenly  to 
alter  so  entirely  the  political  status  of  so  great  a  number  of  the 
citizens  of  this  District,  in  conferring  upon  them  indiscriminately 
the  right  of  franchise." 

Mr.  Chanler,  of  New  York,  then  addressed  the  House : 

"  If,  sir,  it  should  ever  be  your  good  fortune  to  visit  romantic 
old  Spain,  and  to  enter  the  fortress  and  palace  of  Alhambra,  the 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  65 

fairest  monument  of  Moorish  grandeur  and  skill,  as  this  Capitol 
is  the  pride  of  American  architecture,  you  may  see  cut  in  stone 
a  hand  holding  a  key,  surmounting  the  horse-shoe  arch  of  the 
main  gateway.  They  are  the  three  types  of  strength,  speed,  and 
secresy,  the  boast  of  a  now  fallen  Saracen  race,  sons  of  that  sea 
of  sand,  the  desert,  who  carried  the  glory  of  Islam  to  furthest 
Gades.  In  an  evil  hour  of  civil  strife  and  bitter  hatred  of  fac- 
tion, the  Alhambra  was  betrayed  to  Spain,  '  to  feed  fat  an  ancient 
grudge'  between  political  chiefs.  The  stronghold  of  the  race, 
with  the  palace,  the  sacred  courts  of  justice,  and  all  the  rare 
works  of  art — the  gardens  of  unrivaled  splendor — all  that  was 
their  own  of  majesty,  strength,  and  beauty,  became  the  trophies 
of  another. 

"The  legend  of  the  Saracen  exile  tells  the  story  of  penitence 
and  shame;  and  to  the  last  moment  of  his  sad  life  he  sighs  in 
the  sultry  desert  for  the  fair  home  of  his  ancestors,  the  gorgeous 
Alhambra.  We,  too,  are  descended  from  a  race  of  conquerors, 
who  crossed  the  ocean  to  establish  the  glory  of  civil  and  religious 
liberty,  and  secure  freedom  to  themselves  and  their  posterity. 
To-day  we  are  assembled  in  the  Alhambra  of  America;  here  is 
our  citadel ;  here  our  courts  of  highest  resort ;  around  these  halls 
cluster  the  proudest  associations  of  the  American  people;  they 
seem  almost  sacred  in  their  eyes.  Xo  hostile  foot  of  foreign  foe 
or  domestic  traitor  has  trodden  them  in  triumph.  Above  it  floats 
the  flag,  the  emblem  of  our  Union.  That  Union  is  the  emblem 
of  the  triumphs  of  the  white  race.  That  race  rules  by  the  ballot. 
Shall  we  surrender  the  ballot,  the  emblem  of  our  sovereignty; 
the  flag,  the  emblem  of  our  Union;  the  Union,  the  emblem  of 
our  national  glory,  that  they  may  become  the  badges  of  our 
weakness  and  the  trophies  of  another  race?  Never,  sir!  never, 
never ! 

"  Shall  the  white  laborer  bow  his  free,  independent,  and  hon- 
ored brow  to  the  level  of  the  negro  just  set  free  from  slavery, 
and,  by  yielding  the  entrance  to  this  great  citadel  of  our  nation, 
surrender  the  mastery  of  his  race  over  the  Representatives  of  the 
people,  the  Senate,  and  Supreme  Court  of  this  Union  ?  Then, 
sir,  the  white  workingman's  sovereignty  would  begin  to  cease  to  be. 

"Then  the  most  democratic  majesty  of  American  liberty  would 
be  humbled  in  the  little  dust  which  was  lately  raised  by  a  brief 
campaign  of  two  hundred  thousand  negro  troops,  and  even  they 
5 


66  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

led  by  white  officers,  while  millions  of  white  soldiers  held  the 
field  in  victory  by  their  own  strength  and  valor.  Deny  it  if  ye 
dare !  Sir,  I  know  that  this  is  a  white  man's  Government,  and 
I  believe  the  white  workingman  has  the  manhood  which  shall 
preserve  it  to  his  latest  posterity,  pure  and  strong,  in  'justice 
tempered  with  mercy.' 

"  There  may  be  a  legend  hereafter  telling  of  the  exile  of  Rep- 
resentatives now  on  this  floor,  who,  in  the  hour  of  party  spite, 
betrayed  the  dominion  of  their  race  here,  and  the  stronghold  of 
their  people's  liberty,  to  a  servile  and  foreign  race." 

Near  the  close  of  Mr.  Chanler's  remarks,  his  time  having  been 
extended  by  courtesy  of  the  House,  a  forensic  passage  at  arms 
occurred  between  that  gentleman  and  Mr.  Bingham,  of  Ohio. 
Mr.  Chanler  had  said :  "  I  deny  that  any  obligation  rests  against 
this  Government  to  do  any  thing  more  for  the  negro  than  has 
already  been  done.  '  On  what  meats  doth  this  Caesar  feed  that  he 
has  grown  so  great?'  The  white  soldier  did  as  much  work  as  he, 
fought  as  well,  died  as  bravely,  suffered  in  hospitals  and  in  the 
field  as  well  as  he.  More  than  this,  the  white  soldier  fought  to 
liberate  the  slave,  and  did  do  it.  The  white  soldier  did  more : 
he  fought  to  preserve  institutions  and  rights  endeared  to  him  by 
every  hallowed  association;  to  overthrow  the  rebellion  of  his 
brother  against  their  Commonwealth  and  glorious  Union;  to 
preserve  the  sovereignty  of  the  people  against  the  conspiracy  of  a 
slave  aristocracy,  if  you  will ;  to  maintain  the  fabric  of  the  Gov- 
ernment built  by  their  fathers  for  them  and  their  race  in  every 
country  of  kindred  men  who,  downtrodden  and  disenfranchised, 
look  to  this  country  as  a  sure  refuge.  The  white  soldier  fought 
as  a  volunteer,  as  a  responsible,  free,  and  resolute  citizen,  know- 
ing for  what  he  fought,  and  generously  letting  the  slave  share 
with  him  the  honor,  and  bestowing  on  him  more  than  his  share 
of  the  profits  of  the  white  man's  victory  over  his  equal  and  the 
negro's  master. 

"  We  are  willing  that  the  negro  should  have  every  protection 
which  the  law  can  throw  around  him,  but  there  is  a  majesty  which 
'hedges  in  a  king.'  That  he  ought  not  to  have  until  he  shows 
himself  '  every  inch  a  king.' 

" '  Who  would  be  free,  themselves  must  strike  the  blow.' 
" '  Some  are  born  great,  some  achieve  greatness,  and  some  have  greatness 
thrust  upon  them.' 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  67 

"  We  are  opposed  to  thrusting  honor  on  the  negro.  He  is  to- 
day, as  a  race;  as  dependent  on  the  power  and  skill  of  the  white 
race  for  protection  as  when  he  was  first  brought  from  Africa. 
Not  one  act  of  theirs  has  proved  the  capacity  of  the  black  race 
for  self-government.  They  have  neither  literature,  arts,  nor  arms, 
as  a  race.  They  have  never,  during  all  the  changes  of  dynasties 
or  revolution  of  States,  risen  higher  than  to  be  the  helpers  of  the 
contending  parties.  They  have  had  the  same  opportunity  as  the 
Indian  to  secure  their  independence  of  the  white  race,  but  have 
never  systematically  even  attempted  it  on  this  continent,  although 
they  have  been  educated  with  equal  care,  and  in  the  same  schools 
ag  the  white  man.  Their  race  has  been  subject  to  the  white  man, 
and  has  submitted  to  the  yoke." 

Mr.  Bingham. — "  I  understood  the  gentleman  to  say,  that  the 
colored  race  had  failed  to  strike  for  their  rights  during  the  late 
rebellion.  I  wish  to  remind  the  gentleman  of  the  fact,  which 
ought  to  bring  a  blush  to  the  cheek  of  every  American  citizen, 
that  at  the  beginning  of  this  great  struggle,  a  distinguished  gen- 
eral, who,  I  have  no  doubt,  received  the  political  support  of  the 
gentleman  himself  for  the  Presidency,  and  who,  then  at  the  head 
of  an  American  army  within  the  Commonwealth  of  Virginia, 
issued  his  proclamation,  as  general  in  command  of  the  army, 
notifying  the  insurgents  in  arms  against  the  Constitution  that, 
if  their  slaves  rose  in  revolt  for  their  liberty,  he,  Major-General 
McClellan,  by  the  whole  force  of  the  army  at  his  command,  would 
crush  them  with  an  iron  hand.  Yet  the  gentleman  gets  up  here 
to-day,  after  a  record  of  that  sort,  to  cast  censure  upon  this  people 
because  they  did  not  strike  for  their  liberties  against  the  com- 
bined armies  of  the  republic  and  the  armies  of  treason !" 

Mr.  Chanler.— "My  honorable  friend  from  Ohio  may  have 
made  a  good  point  against  General  McClellan,  but  he  has  made 
none  against  me.  I  admit  that  they  have  made  successful  insur- 
rections, but  my  argument  was  not  to  the  effect  that  the  negro 
race  was  not  capable  of  the  bloodiest  deeds.  I  avoided  entering 
into  that  question.  I  asserted  that  they  had  made  successful  in- 
surrection j  that  they  had  held  the  white  race  under  their  heel  in 
Hayti  and  St.  Domingo.  I  would  only  say,  with  regard  to  this 
question  of  race,  that  I  assert  there  is  no  record  of  the  black  race 
having  proved  its  capacity  for  self-government  as  a  race;  that 
they  have  never  struck  a  blow  for  freedom,  and  maintained  their 


68  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

freedom  aud  independence  as  individuals  when  free.  I  appeal  to 
history,  and  to  the  gentleman  from  Ohio  [Mr.  Bingham],  and  I 
speak  as  a  student  of  history,  and  the  representative  of  a  race 
whose  proudest  boast  is  that  their  capacity  for  self-govern- 
ment is  the  only  charter  of  their  liberty.  I  assail  no  race;  I 
assail  no  man.  I  have  taken  the  greatest  pains  to  prove  that  the 
inalienable  rights  of  the  black  man  are  as  sacred  to  me  as  those 
inalienable  rights  I  have  received  from  my  God.  If  the  gentle- 
man misunderstood  me,  I  hope  he  will  accept  this  explanation. 
If  I  have  not  met  his  question,  I  will  now  yield  the  floor  to  him 
to  continue." 

Mr.  Bingham. — "And  I  continue  thus  far,  that  the  gentle- 
man's speech  certainly  has  relation  to  the  rights  of  the  black  man 
within  the  Kepublic  of  the  United  States.  What  he  may  say  of 
their  history  outside  of  the  jurisdiction  of  this  country,  it  is  not 
very  important  for  me  to  take  notice  of.  But  inasmuch  as  the 
gentleman  has  seen  fit,  in  his  response  to  what  I  said,  to  refer  to 
the  testimony  of  history,  I  will  bear  witness  now,  by  the  authority 
of  history,  that  this  very  race  of  which  he  speaks  is  the  only  race 
now  existing  upon  this  planet  that  ever  hewed  their  way  out  of 
the  prison-house  of  chattel  slavery  to  the  sunlight  of  personal 
liberty  by  their  own  unaided  arm.  So  much  for  that  part  of  the 
gentleman's  argument  as  relates  to  history." 

Mr.  Chanler. — "  Does  the  gentleman  allude  now  to  what  has 
been  done  in  other  lands  than  this?  I  ask  the  question  because  he 
says  he  does  not  like  me  to  go  outside  of  the  jurisdiction  of  this 
country,  and  I  therefore  ask  him  not  to  go  too  far  into  Africa." 

Mr.  Bingham. — "  I  am  not  in  Africa.  I  refer  to  what  the  gen- 
tleman referred  to  himself.  The  insurrection  in  St.  Domingo,  I 
say,  stands  without  a  parallel  in  the  history  of  any  race  now  liv- 
ing on  this  earth,  and  I  challenge  the  gentleman  to  refute  that 
statement  from  history." 

Mr.  Chanler.—"  That  is  admitted." 

Mr.  Bins-ham. — "That  is  admitted.  Then  I  want  to  know, 
with  a  fact  like  that  conceded,  what  sort  of  logic,  what  sort  of 
force,  what  sort  of  reason,  what  sort  of  justice  is  there  in  the 
remark  of  the  gentleman  made  here  in  a  deliberative  assembly 
touching  the  question  of  the  personal  enfranchisement  of  the 
black  race,  when  he  says  in  the  statement  here,  right  in  the  face 
of  that  fact,  that  they  only  are  entitled  to  their  liberty  who  strike 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  69 

the  blow  for  and  maintain  their  liberty?  They  did  strike  the 
blow  in  Hayti,  and  did  maintain  their  liberty  there.  They  struck 
such  a  blow  for  liberty  there  as  no  other  race  of  men  under  like 
circumstances  ever  before  struck,  now  represented  by  any  organ- 
ized community  upon  this  planet;  and  that  the  gentleman  con- 
ceded. And  yet  this  sort  of  argument  is  to  be  adduced  here  as 
reason  why  these  people  in  the  District  of  Columbia  should  not 
receive  the  consideration  of  this  House,  and  be  protected  in  their 
rights  as  men.  If  the  gentleman's  remark  is  not  adduced  for 
that  purpose,  then  it  is  altogether  foreign  to  our  inquiry.  If  the 
gentleman  can  assign  any  other  reason  for  the  introduction  of  any 
such  argument  as  that,  I  should  like  to  hear  him." 

Mr.  Chanler. — "I  merely  wish  to  say,  in  reply  to  the  gentle- 
man, that  I  have  read  history  a  little  further  back.  I  remember 
when  the  British  fleet  and  the  British  army  held  out  a  similar 
threat  to  the  white  race  of  this  country.  The  proclamation  of 
General  McClellan  did  keep  down  the  negroes';  and  this  fact 
proves  what  I  assert — that  they  are  a  race  to  be  kept  under.  No 
race  capable  of  achieving  its  liberty  by  its  own  efforts,  would  have 
listened  for  one  moment  to  the  paper  threats  of  all  the  generals 
in  the  world.  The  negroes  listened  to  McClellan,  and  they 
shrank  behind  the  bush.  They  are  bushmen  in  Africa.  They  are 
a  dependent  race,  unwilling — I  assert  it  from  the  record  of  his- 
tory— unwilling  to  assert  their  independence  at  the  risk  of  their 
lives.  By  their  own  efforts  they  never  have  attained,  and  I 
firmly  believe  they  never  will  attain,  their  liberty." 

Mr.  Bingham  replied :  "  I  desire  to  say  to  the  gentleman  from 
New  York,  when  he  talks  of  being  a  '  student  of  history/  that 
before  the  tribunal  of  history  the  facts  are  not  against  me  nor 
against  the  colored  race.  I  beg  leave  to  say  to  the  gentleman 
that  these  people  have  borne  themselves  as  bravely,  as  well,  and, 
I  may  add,  as  wisely  during  the  great  contest  just  closed,  as  any 
people  to  whom  he  can  point,  situated  in  like  circumstances,  at 
any  period  of  the  world's  history.  They  were  in  chains  when 
the  rebellion  broke  out.  They  constituted  but  one-sixth  of  the 
whole  body  of  the  people.  By  the  terms  of  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States,  if  they  lifted  a  hand  in  the  assertion  of  their 
right  to  freedom,  they  were  liable  that  moment  to  be  crushed  by 
the  combined  power  of  the  Republic,  called  out,  in  pursuance  of 
the  very  letter  of  the  Constitution,  'to  suppress   insurrection.' 


70  TEE  TEIBTT-NIJYTE  CONGRESS. 

Yet,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  their  whole  living  generation 
and  the  generations  before  them,  running  back  two  centuries,  had 
been  enslaved  and  brutalized,  reduced  Jo  the  sad  and  miserable 
condition  of  chattels,  which,  for  want  of  a  better  name,  we  call  a 
'  slave ' — an  article  of  merchandise,  a  thing  of  trade,  with  no  ac- 
knowledged rights  in  the  present,  and  denied  even  the  hope  of  a 
heritage  in  the  great  hereafter — yet,  sir,  the  moment  that  the 
word  l  Liberty '  ran  along  your  ranks,  the  moment  that  the  word 
'  Emancipation '  was  emblazoned  upon  your  banners,  those  men 
who,  with  their  ancestors,  had  been  enslaved  through  five  gene- 
rations, rose  as  one  man  to  stand  by  this  republic,  the  last  hope 
of  oppressed  humanity  upon  the  earth,  until  they  numbered  one 
hundred  and  seventy-five  thousand  arrayed  in  arms  under  your 
banners,  doing  firmly,  unshrinkingly,  and  defiantly  their  full 
share  in  securing  the  final  victory  of  our  arms.  I  have  said  this 
much  in  defense  of  men  who  had  the  manhood,  in  the  hour  of  the 
nation's  trial,  to  strike  for  the  flag  and  the  unity  of  the  republic 
in  the  tempest  of  the  great  conflict,  and  to  stand,  where  brave 
men  only  could  stand,  on  the  field  of  poised  battle,  where  the 
earthquake  and  the  fire  led  the  charge.  Sir,  I  am  not  mistaken ; 
and  the  record  of  history  to  which  I  have  referred  does  not,  as 
the  gentleman  affirms  it  does,  make  against  me." 

Mr.  Grinnell,  of  Iowa,  in  reply  to  Mr.  Chanler,  said :  "He 
[Mr.  Chanler]  proceeds  to  say  that  they  are  now,  as  a  class,  de- 
pendent as  when  they  were  brought  from  their  native  wilds  in 
Africa.  Sir,  I  believe  if  the  gentleman  were  master  of  all  lan- 
guages, if  he  were  to  attempt  to  put  into  a  sentence  the  quintes- 
sence, the  high-wines,  and  sublimation  of  an  untruth,  he  could 
not  have  more  concentrated  his  language  into  a  libel. 

"What  is  the  fact,  sir?  It  is  perfectly  notorious  that  these  four 
million  slaves  have  not  only  taken  care  of  themselves  amid  all  the 
ingenious  impediments  which  tyrants  could  impose,  but  they  have 
borne  upon  their  stalwart  shoulders  their  masters,  millions  of 
people,  for  a  century.  Why,  sir,  it  seemed  as  impossible  for  a 
man  to  swim  the  Atlantic  with  Mount  Atlas  upon  his  back,  or 
make  harmonious  base  to  the  thunders  of  heaven.  But  these  men 
have  achieved  the  world's  wonder — coming  out  from  the  tortures 
of  slavery,  from  the  prison-house,  untainted  with  dishonor  or 
crime,  and  out  of  the  war  free,  noble,  brave,  and  more  worthy  of 
their  friends,  always  true  to  the  flag. 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  71 

"  Mr.  Speaker,  it  was  in  fable  that'a  man  pointed  a  lion  to  the 
picture  which  represented  the  king  of  the  forest  prostrate,  with  a 
man's  foot  on  his  neck,  and  asked  what  he  thought  of  that.  The 
reply  was,  '  Lions  have  no  painters.'  For  clays  the  unblushing 
apostles  of  sham  Democracy  have  in  this  House  drawn  pictures 
of  the  ignorance  and  degradation  of  the  people  of  color  in  the 
District  of  Columbia.  Had  the  subjects  of  their  wanton  defama- 
tion had  a  Representative  here,  there  would  have  been  a  different 
coloring  to  the  picture,  and  I  would  gladly  leave  their  defense  to 
the  Representatives  of  classes  who  have  by  hundreds  darkened 
these  galleries  with  their  sable  countenances,  waiting  for  days  to 
hear  the  decisive  vote  which  announces  that  their  freedom  is  not 
a  mockery. 

"Who  are  they  to  whom  this  bill  proposes  to  give  suffrage? 
They  are  twenty  thousand  people,  owning  twenty-one  churches, 
maintaining  thirty-three  day  schools,  and  paying  taxes  on  more 
than  one  and  a  quarter  million  dollars'  worth  of  real  property. 
Thirty  per  cent,  of  their  number  were  slaves ;  but  the  census  does 
not  show  that  there  is  a  Democratic  congressional  district  in  the 
Union  where  a  larger  proportion  of  its  population  are  found  at- 
tendant at  the  churches  or  in  the  schools. 

"  They  did  not  follow  the  example  of  their  pale-faced  neighbors, 
to  the  number  of  thousands,  crossing  the  line  to  join  in  the  rebell- 
ion ;  but  three  thousand  and  more  of  their  number  went  into  the 
Union  army,  nearly  one  thousand  of  whom,  as  soldiers,  fell  by 
disease  and  battle  in  the  room  of  those  who  wept  on  Northern  soil 
for  rebel  defeats,  and  now  decry  the  manhood  and  withhold  just 
rights  from  our  true  national  defenders. 

"In  the  South  they  were  our  friends.  In  the  language  of  an 
official  dispatch  of  Secretary  Seward  to  Minister  Adams,  '  Every- 
where the  American  general  receives  his  most  useful  and  reliable 
information  from  the  negro,  who  hails  his  coming  as  the  harbinger 
of  freedom.'  Not  one,  but  many,  of  our  generals  have  proclaimed 
that  the  negro  has  gained  by  the  bayonet  the  ballot.  Admiral  Du 
Pont  made  mention  of  the  negro  pilot  Small,  who  brought  out 
the  steamer  Planter,  mounting  a  rifled  and  siege  gun,  from  Char- 
leston, as  a  prize  to  us,  under  the  very  guns  of  the  enemy.  He 
brought  us  the  first  trophy  from  Fort  Sumter,  and  information 
more  valuable  than  the  prize. 

"  The  celebrated  charge  of  the  negro  brigade  at  the  conflict  at 


72  TEE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Port  Hudson  has  passed  into  history.  The  position  of  the  colored 
people  in  the  State  of  Iowa  reflects  lasting  honor  on  their  loyalty, 
and  our  brave  white  soldiers  would  not  have  me  withhold  the 
facts.  In  the  State  there  were  between  nine  hundred  and  a 
thousand  people  of  their  class  subject  to  military  duty.  Of  that 
number  more  than  seven  hundred  entered  the  army.  They  put  to 
blush  the  patriotism  of  the  dominant  race  in  all  Democratic  dis- 
tricts. Seven-tenths  of  a  class,  without  the  inducement  of  com- 
missions as  lieutenants,  captains,  colonels,  commissaries,  or  quar- 
termasters, braving  the  hate  and  vengeance  of  rebels,  rushing  into 
the  deadly  imminent  breach  in  the  darkest  hour  of  our  struggle ! 
Where  is  the  parallel  to  this  ?  They  had  no  flag ;  it  was  a 
mockery.  There  was  no  pledge  of  political  franchise.  Does 
history  cite  us  to  a  country  where  so  large  a  per  cent,  of  the  pop- 
ulation went  forth  for  the  national  defense  ?  It  was  not  under  the 
Csesars ;  and  Harold,  in  the  defense  of  Britain,  left  behind  him  a 
larger  per  cent,  of  the  stalwart  and  the  strong.  They  were  more 
eager  to  maintain  the  national  honor  than  the  zealots  to  rescue 
Jerusalem  from  the  profanation  of  infidels.  Not  Frank  or  Hun, 
nor  Huguenot  or  Roundhead,  or  mountaineer,  Hungarian,  or  Pole, 
exceeded  their  sacrifices  made  when  tardily  accepted.  And  this  is 
the  race  now  asking  our  favor. 

"  Mr.  Speaker,  it  will  be  one  of  the  most  joyful  occasions  of  my 
life  to  give  expression  to  my  gratitude  by  voting  a  ballot  to  those 
who  owed  us  so  little,  yet  have  aided  us  so  faithfully  and  well. 
My  conscience  approves  it  as  a  humane  act  to  the  millions  who 
for  centuries  have  groaned  under  a  terrible  realization  that  on 
the  side  of  the  oppressor  there  is  power. 

"My  purpose  is  not  to  leave  that  heritage  of  shame  to  my 
children,  that  I  forgot  those  whose  blood  fed  our  rivers  and  crim- 
soned the  sea,  and  left  them  outcasts  in  the  '  land  of  the  free/ 
preferring  white  treason  to  sable  loyalty.  I  rather  vote  death 
the  penalty  for  the  chief  traitor,  all  honor  and  reward  for  our 
soldiery,  and  a  ballot,  safety,  and  justice  for  the  poor." 

On  the  1 5th  of  January  the  discussion  was  continued  by  Mr. 
Kasson,  of  Iowa,  who  said :  "  Much  has  been  said  in  this  debate 
about  the  gallantry  of  the  negro  troops,  and  about  the  number 
of  negro  troops  in  the  war.  Gentlemen  have  declared  here  so 
broadly  that  we  were  indebted  to  them  for  our  victories  as  to  ac- 
tually convey  the  impression  that  they  won  nearly  all  the  victo- 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  73 

ries  accomplished  by  the  armies  of  the  United  States,  and  that  to 
them  are  we  indebted  for  the  salvation  of  our  country  and  our 
triumph  over  the  rebellion. 

"  I  do  not  agree  with  them  in  the  extent  of  their  praise,  nor 
the  grounds  upon  which  it  has  been  placed.  One  gentleman,  I 
think  it  was  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania,  speaks  of  our  debt 
to  the  negroes,  because  they  have  fought  our  battles  for  us.  This 
is  a  falsification  of  the  condition  of  the  negroes,  and  of  the  history 
of  the  country  in  this  particular.  Those  negroes  fought  for  their 
liberty,  which  was  involved  in  the  preservation  of  the  Union  of 
the  States.  They  fought  with  us  to  accomplish  the  maintenance 
of  the  integrity  of  the  country,  which  carried  with  it  the  liberty 
of  their  own  race;  and  what  would  have  been  said  of  the  negroes 
if  they  had  not,  under  such  circumstances,  come  forward  and 
united  with  us?  While  I  yield  to  the  negro  troops  the  credit  of 
having  exhibited  bravery  and  manhood  when  put  to  the  test,  I 
do  not  yield  to  them  the  exclusive  or  chief  credit  of  having  won 
the  victory  for  the  Government  of  my  country  in  preserving  this 
Union.  Let  us  not,  uuder  false  assertions  of  fact,  send  out  to 
the  country  and  the  world  from  this  floor  the  declaration  that  the 
white  race  of  this  country  are  wanting  in  the  gallantry,  the  de- 
votion, and  the  patriotism  which  ultimately  secured  for  our  armies 
triumph,  and  for  our  nation  perpetuity. 

"Unless  intelligence  exists  in  this  country,  unless  schools  are 
supported  and  education  diffused  throughout  the  country,  our  in- 
stitutions are  not  safe,  and  either  anarchy  or  despotism  will  be  the 
result;  and  when  you  propose  substantially  to  introduce  at  once 
three-quarters  of  a  million  or  a  million  of  voters,  the  great  mass 
of  whom  are  ignorant  and  unable  to  tell  when  the  ballot  they 
vote  is  right  side  up,  then  I  protest  against  such  an  alarming  in- 
fusion of  ignorance  into  the  ballot-box,  into  that  sacred  palladium, 
as  we  have  always  called  it,  of  the  liberties  of  our  country.  Let 
us  introduce  them  by  fit  degrees.  Let  them  come  in  as  fast  as 
they  are  fit,  and  their  numbers  will  not  shock  the  character  of  our 
institutions. 

"I  turn  for  a  single  moment  to  call  attention  to  the  philan- 
thropy of  the  proposition.  If  you  introduce  all  without  regard 
to  qualification,  without  their  being  able  to  read  or  write,  and 
thus  to  understand  the  questions  on  which  they  are  to  decide, 
what  would  be  the  effect?     You  will  take  away  from  them  the 


74  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

strongest  incentive  to  learn  to  read  or  write.  As  a  race,  it  is  not 
accustomed  to  position  and  property;  it  lias  no  homesteads,  it  has 
no  stake  in  the  country ;  and  unless  they  are  required  to  be  intel- 
ligent, and  qualified  to  understand  something  about  our  institu- 
tions and  our  laws,  and  the  questions  which  are  submitted  to  the 
people  from  time  to  time,  you  say  then  to  them,  'No  matter 
whether  or  not  you  make  progress  in  civilization  or  education, 
you  shall  have  all  the  rights  of  citizenship,'  and  in  that  way  you 
take  away  from  them  all  special  motive  to  education  and  improve- 
ment. On  the  contrary,  if  the  ability  to  read  and  write  and  un- 
derstand the  ballot  is  made  the  qualification  on  the  part  of  these 
people  to  exercise  the  right  of  voting,  the  remaining  portion  will 
see  that  color  is  not  exclusion.  They  would  all  aspire  to  the 
qualification  itself  as  preliminary  to  the  act.  You  can  submit  no 
motive  to  that  race  so  powerful  for  the  purpose  of  developing  in 
them  the  education  and  intelligence  required. 

"  I  say,  therefore,  on  whatever  grounds  you  put  it,  whether  you 
regard  the  safety  of  our  institutions  or  the  light  of  philanthropy, 
you  should  insist  on  qualifications  substantially  the  same  as  those 
required  in  the  State  of  Massachusetts.  And  let  me  say  that, 
taking  the  State  of  Massachusetts  as  an  example  of  the  result  of 
general  intelligence  and  qualified  suffrage,  and  a  careful  guardian- 
ship of  the  ballot-box,  I  know  of  no  more  illustrious  example  in 
this  or  any  other  country  of  its  importance. 

"  AVith  a  credit  that  surpasses  that  of  the  United  States,  with 
a  history  that  is  surpassed  by  no  State  in  the  Union,  with  wealth 
that  is  almost  fabulous  in  proportion  to  its  population,  with  a 
prosperity  almost  unknown  in  the  history  of  the  world,  that  State 
stands  before  us  to-day  in  all  her  dignity,  strength,  wealth,  intel- 
ligence, and  virtue.  And  if  we,  by  adopting  similar  principles  in 
other  States,  can  secure  such  results,  we  certainly  have  an  induce- 
ment to  consider  well  how  far  this  condition  is  to  be  attributed  to 
her  diffused  education,  and  to  the  provisions  of  her  constitution." 

At  the  close  of  Mr.  Kasson's  speech,  a  colloquy  occurred  be- 
tween him  and  his  colleague,  Mr.  Price,  eliciting  the  fact  that  the 
question  of  negro  suffrage  in  Iowa  had  been  squarely  before  the 
people  of  that  State  in  the  late  fall  election,  and  their  vote  had 
been  in  favor  of  the  measure  by  a  majority  of  sixteen  thousand. 

Mr.  Julian,  of  Indiana,  having  obtained  the  floor  near  the  hour 
of  adjournment,  made  his  argument  on  the  following  day,  when 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  75 

the  consideration  of  the  question  was  resumed.  In  answer  to  the 
objection  that  negro  voting  would  "lead  to  the  amalgamation  of 
the  races  or  social  equality/'  he  said:  "On  this  subject  there  is 
nothing  left  to  conjecture,  and  no  ground  for  alarm.  Negro  suf- 
frage has  been  very  extensively  tried  in  this  country,  and  we  are 
able  to  appeal  to  facts.  Negroes  had  the  right  to  vote  in  all  the 
Colonies  save  one,  under  the  Articles  of  Confederation.  They 
voted,  I  believe,  generally,  on  the  question  of  adopting  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States.  They  have  voted  ever  since  in 
New  York  and  the  New  England  States,  save  Connecticut,  in 
which  the  practice  was  discontinued  in  1818.  They  voted  in 
New  Jersey  till  the  year  1840;  in  Virginia  and  Maryland  till 
1833;  in  Pennsylvania  till  1838;  in  Delaware  till  1831;  and  in 
North  Carolina  and  Tennessee  till  1836.  I  have  never  under- 
stood that  in  all  this  experience  of  negro  suffrage  the  amalgama- 
tion of  the  races  was  the  result.  I  think  these  evils  are  not  at  all 
complained  of  to  this  day  in  New  England  and  New  York,  where 
negro  suffrage  is  still  practiced  and  recognized  by  law." 

In  answer  to  the  argument  that  a  "war  of  races"  might  en- 
sue, Mr.  Julian  said :  "  Sir,  a  war  of  races  in  this  country  can 
only  be  the  result  of  denying  to  the  negro  his  rights,  just  as  such 
wars  have  been  caused  elsewhere ;  and  the  late  troubles  in  Jamaica 
should  teach  us,  if  any  lesson  can,  the  duty  of  dealing  j  ustly  with 
our  millions  of  freedmen.  Like  causes  must  produce  like  results. 
English  law  made  the  slaves  of  Jamaica  free,  but  England  failed 
to  enact  other  laws  making  their  freedom  a  blessing.  The  old 
spirit  of  domination  never  died  in  the  slave-master,  but  was  only 
maddened  by  emancipation.  For  thirty  years  no  measures  were 
adopted  tending  to  protect  or  educate  the  freedmen.  At  length, 
and  quite  recently,  the  colonial  authorities  passed  a  whipping  act, 
then  a  law  of  eviction  for  people  of  color,  then  a  law  imposing 
heavy  impost  duties,  bearing  most  grievously  upon  them,  and 
finally  a  law  providing  for  the  importation  of  coolies,  thus  taxing 
the  freedmen  for  the  very  purpose  of  taking  the  bread  out  of  the 
mouths  of  their  own  children !  I  believe  it  turns  out,  after  all, 
that  these  outraged  j)eople  even  then  did  not  rise  up  against  the 
local  government ;  but  the  white  ruffians  of  the  island,  goaded  on 
by  their  own  unchecked  rapacity,  and  availing  themselves  of  the 
infernal  pretext  of  a  black  insurrection,  perpetrated  deeds  of 
rapine  and  vengeance  that  find  no  parallel  anywhere,  save  in  the 


76  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

acts  of  their  natural  allies,  the  late  slave-breeding  rebels,  against 
our  flag.  Sir,  is  there  no  warning  here  against  the  policy  of 
leaving  our  freeclmen  to  the  tender  mercies  of  their  old  masters  ? 
Are  the  white  rebels  of  this  District  any  better  than  the  Jamaica 
villains  to  whom  I  have  referred?  The  late  report  of  General 
Schurz  gives  evidence  of  some  important  facts  which  will  doubt- 
less apply  here.  The  mass  of  the  white  people  in  the  South,  he 
says,  are  totally  destitute  of  any  national  feeling.  The  same  big- 
oted sectionalism  that  swayed  them  prior  to  the  war  is  almost 
universal.  Nor  have  they  any  feeling  of  the  enormity  of  treason 
as  a  crime.  To  them  it  is  not  odious,  as  very  naturally  it  would 
not  be,  under  the  policy  which  foregoes  the  punishment  of  traitors, 
and  gives  so  many  of  them  the  chief  places  of  power  in  the  South. 
And  their  hatred  of  the  negro  to-day  is  as  intense  and  scathing  and 
as  universal  as  before  the  war.  I  believe  it  to  be  even  more  so. 
The  proposition  to  educate  him  and  elevate  his  condition  is  every- 
where met  with  contempt  and  scorn.  They  acknowledge  that 
slavery,  as  it  once  existed,  is  overthrown ;  but  the  continued  in- 
feriority and  subordination  of  .the  colored  race,  under  some  form 
of  vassalage  or  serfdom,  is  regarded  by  them  as  certain.  Sir,  they 
have  no  thought  of  any  thing  else ;  and  if  the  ballot  shall  be  with- 
held from  thefreedmen  after  the  withdrawal  of  military  power, 
the  most  revolting  forms  of  oppression  and  outrage  will  be  prac- 
ticed, resulting,  at  last,  in  that  very  war  of  races  which  is  foolishly 
apprehended  as  the  effect  of  giving  the  negro  his  rights." 

A  serious  question  confronted  Mr.  Julian,  namely :  How  could 
Representatives  from  States  which  negroes  by  constitutional  pro- 
vision are  forbidden  to  enter,  be  expected  to  vote  for  negro  suffrage 
in  this  District  ?  He  said  :  "  In  seeking  to  meet  this  difficulty, 
several  considerations  must  be  borne  in  mind.  In  the  first  place, 
the  demand  for  negro  suffrage  in  this  District  rests  not  alone  upon 
the  general  ground  of  right,  of  democratic  equality,  but  upon  pe- 
culiar reasons  superinduced  by  the  late  war,  which  make  it  an 
immediate  practical  issue,  involving  not  merely  the  welfare  of  the 
colored  man,  but  the  safety  of  society  itself.  If  civil  government 
is  to  be  revived  at  all  in  the  South,  it  is  perfectly  self-evident  that 
the  loyal  men  there  must  vote ;  but  the  loyal  men  are  the  negroes, 
and  the  disloyal  are  the  whites.  To  put  back  the  governing  power 
into  the  hands  of  the  very  men  who  brought  on  the  war,  and  ex- 
clude those  who  have  proved  themselves  the  true  friends  of  the 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  77 

country,  would  be  utterly  suicidal  and  atrociously  unjust.  Negro 
suffrage  in  the  districts  lately  in  revolt  is  thus  a  present  political 
necessity,  dictated  by  the  selfishness  of  the  white  loyalist  as  well 
as  his  sense  of  justice.  But  in  our  Western  States,  in  which  the 
negro  population  is  relatively  small,  and  the  prevailing  sentiment 
of  their  white  people  is  loyal,  no  such  emergency  exists.  Society 
will  not  be  endangered  by  the  temporary  postponement  of  the 
right  of  negro  suffrage  till  public  opinion  shall  render  it  prac- 
ticable, and  leaving  the  question  of  suffrage  in  the  loyal  States  to 
be  decided  by  them  on  its  merits.  If  Indiana  had  gone  out  of  her 
proper  place  in  the  Union,  and  her  loyal  population  had  been  found 
too  weak  to  force  her  back  into  it  without  negro  bullets  and  bay- 
onets, and  if,  after  thus  coercing  her  again  into  her  constitutional 
orbit,  her  loyalists  had  been  found  unable  to  hold  her  there  with- 
out negro  ballots,  the  question  of  negro  suffrage  in  Indiana  would 
most  obviously  have  been  very  different  from  the  comparatively 
abstract  one  which  it  now  is.  It  would,  it  is  true,  have  involved 
the  question  of  justice  to  the  negroes  of  Indiana,  but  the  tran- 
scendently  broader  and  more  vital  question  of  national  salvation 
also.  Let  me  add  further,  that  should  Congress  pass  this  bill, 
and  should  the  ballot  be  given  to  the  negroes  in  the  sunny  South 
generally,  those  in  our  Northern  and  Western  States,  many  of  them 
at  least,  may  return  to  their  native  land  and  its  kindlier  skies,  and 
thus  quiet  the  nerves  of  conservative  gentlemen  who  dread  too 
close  a  proximity  to  those  whose  skins,  owing  to  some  providential 
oversight,  were  somehow  or  other  not  stamped  with  the  true 
orthodox  luster. 

"The  ballot  should  be  given  to  the  negroes  as  a  matter  of 
justice  to  them.  It  should  likewise  be  done  as  a  matter  of  retrib- 
utive justice  to  the  slaveholders  and  rebels.  According  to  the 
best  information  I  can  obtain,  a  very  large  majority  of  the  white 
people  of  this  District  have  been  rebels  in  heart  during  the  war, 
and  are  rebels  in  heart  still.  That  contempt  for  the  negro  and 
scorn  of  free  industry,  which  constituted  the  mainspring  of  the 
rebellion,  cropped  out  here  during  the  war  in  every  form  that 
was  possible,  under  the  immediate  shadow  of  the  central  Govern- 
ment. Meaner  rebels  than  many  in  this  District  could  scarcely 
have  been  found  in  the  whole  land.  They  have  not  been  pun- 
ished. The  halter  has  been  cheated  out  of  their  necks.  I  am 
very  sorry  to  say  that  under  what  seems  to  be  a  false  mercy,  a 


78  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

misapplied  humanity,  the  guiltiest  rebels  of  the  war  have  thus 
far  been  allowed  to  escape  justice.  I  have  no  desire  to  censure 
the  authorities  of  the  Government  for  this  fact.  I  hope  they 
have  some  valid  excuse  for  their  action.  This  question  of  pun- 
ishment I  know  is  a  difficult  one.  The  work  of  punishment  is 
so  vast  that  it  naturally  palsies  the  will  to  enter  upon  it.  It 
never  can  be  thoroughly  done  on  this  side  of  the  grave.  And 
were  it  practicable  to  punish  adequately  all  the  most  active  and 
guilty  rebels,  justice  would  still  remain  unsatisfied.  Far  guiltier 
men  than  they  are  the  rebel  sympathizers  of  the  loyal  States,  who 
coolly  stood  by  and  encouraged  their  friends  in  the  South  in  their 
work  of  national  rapine  and  murder,  and  while  they  were  ever 
ready  to  go  joyfully  into  the  service  of  the  devil,  were  too  cow- 
ardly to  wear  his  uniform  and  carry  his  weapons  in  open  day. 
But  Congress  in  this  District  has  the  power  to  punish  by  ballot, 
and  there  will  be  a  beautiful,  poetic  justice  in  the  exercise  of  this 
power.  Sir,  let  it  be  applied.  The  rebels  here  will  recoil  from 
it  with  horror.  Some  of  the  worst  of  them,  sooner  than  submit 
to  black  suffrage,  will  doubtless  leave  the  District,  and  thus  render 
it  an  unspeakable  service.  To  be  voted  down  and  governed  by 
Yankee  and  negro  ballots  will  seem  to  them  an  intolerable  griev- 
ance, and  this  is  among  the  excellent  reasons  why  I  am  in  favor 
of  it.  If  neither  hanging  nor  exile  can  be  extemporized  for  the 
entertainment  of  our  domestic  rebels,  let  us  require  them  at  least 
to  make  their  bed  on  negro  ballots  during  the  remainder  of  their 
unworthy  lives.  Of  course  they  will  not  relish  it,  but  that  will 
be  their  own  peculiar  concern.  Their  darling  institution  must 
be  charged  with  all  the  consequences  of  the  war.  They  sowed 
the  wind,  and,  if  required,  must  reap  the  whirlwind.  Retribu- 
tion follows  wrong-doing,  and  this  law  must  work  out  its  results. 
Rebels  and  their  sympathizers,  I  am  sure,  will  fare  as  well  under 
negro  suffrage  as  they  deserve,  and  I  desire  to  leave  them,  as  far 
as  practicable,  in  the  hands  of  their  colored  brethren.  Nor  shall 
I  stop  to  inquire  very  critically  whether  the  negroes  are  Jit  to  vote. 
As  between  themselves  and  white  rebels,  who  deserve  to  be  hung, 
they  are  eminently  fit.  I  would  not  have  them  more  so.  Will 
you,  Mr.  Speaker,  will  even  my  conservative  and  Democratic 
friends,  be  particularly  nice  or  fastidious  in  the  choice  of  a  man 
to  vote  down  a  rebel?  Shall  we  insist  upon  a  perfectly  finished 
gentleman  and  scholar  to  vote  down  the  traitors  and  white  trash 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  79 

of  this  District,  who  have  recently  signalized  themselves  by  mob- 
bing unoffending  negroes  ?  Sir,  almost  any  body,  it  seems  to  me, 
will  answer  the  purpose.  I  do  not  pretend  that  the  colored  men 
here,  should  they  get  the  ballot,  will  not  sometimes  abuse  it. 
They  will  undoubtedly  make  mistakes.  In  some  cases  they  may 
even  vote  on  the  side  of  their  old  masters.  But  I  feel  pretty  safe 
in  saying  that  even  white  men,  perfectly  free  from  all  suspicion 
of  negro  blood,  have  sometimes  voted  on  the  wrong  side.  Sir,  I 
appeal  to  gentlemen  on  this  floor,  and  especially  to  my  Demo- 
cratic friends,  to  say  whether  they  can  not  call  to  mind  instances 
in  which  white  men  have  voted  wrong  ?  Indeed,  it  rather  strikes 
me  that  white  voting,  ignorant,  depraved,  party-ridden,  Democratic 
white  voting,  had  a  good  deal  to  do  in  hatching  into  life  the  re- 
bellion itself,  and  that  no  results  of  negro  voting  are  likely  to  be 
much  worse." 

After  an  hour  occupied  by  Mr.  Randall  and  Mr.  Kelley,  both 
of  Pennsylvania,  in  a  colloquial  discussion  of  the  history  and 
present  position  of  their  State  upon  the  subject  of  negro  suffrage, 
Mr.  Thomas,  of  Maryland,  addressed  the  House.  After  setting 
forth  the  injustice  the  passage  of  the  bill  would  work  toward  the 
people  of  his  State,  he  said: 

"  If  I  believed  that  the  matter  of  suffrage  was  the  only  mode 
to  help  the  negro  in  his  elevation,  and  the  only  safeguard  to  his 
protection,  or  guarantee  to  his  rights,  I  would  be  willing  to  give 
it  to  him  now,  subject  to  proper  qualifications  and  restrictions. 
But  I  am  honest  in  my  conviction  that,  uneducated  and  ignorant 
as  he  is,  a  slave  from  his  birth,  and  subject  to  the  will  and  caprice 
of  his  master,  with  none  of  the  exalted  ideas  of  what  that  privi- 
lege means,  and  with  but  a  faint  conception  of  the  true  position 
he  now  occupies,  the  negro  is  not  the  proper  subject  to  have  con- 
ferred upon  him  this  right.  I  believe  if  it  is  given  to  him,  that 
in  localities  where  his  is  the  majority  vote,  parties  will  spring  up, 
each  one  bidding  higher  than  the  other  for  his  ballot,  and  that 
in  the  end  the  negro-voting  element  will  be  controlled  by  a  few 
evil  and  wicked  politicians,  and  as  something  to  be  bought  and 
sold  as  freely  as  an  article  of  merchandise.  I  am  satisfied  of 
another  fact,  from  my  experience  of  the  Southern  negro,  that  if 
they  are  ever  allowed  to  vote,  the  shrewd  politician  of  the  South, 
who  has  been  formerly  his  master,  will  exert  more  influence  over 
his  vote  than  all  the  exhortations  from  Beecher  or  Cheever. 


80  THE  THIBTT-JYIJYTH  CONGRESS. 

"It  is  a  notorious  fact  that  the  Southern  planter  maintained 
his  political  influence  over  the  poor  white  man  of  the  South, 
because  the  poor  white  man  was  dependent  on  him  for  his  living 
and  support.  And  you  will  find,  when  it  is  too  late,  that  the 
Southern  planter  will  maintain  the  same  political  influence  over 
the  poor,  uneducated,  ignorant,  and  dependent  African,  even  to 
a  greater  extent  than  he  formerly  exercised  over  what  used  to  be 
called  the  'poor  white  trash/ 

"Mr.  Speaker,  let  us  not,  because  we  have  the  majority  here 
to-day,  pass  upon  measures  which,  if  we  were  evenly  divided, 
we  would  hesitate  to  pass.  Let  us  not,  because  we  are  called 
radicals,  strike  at  the  roots  of  society,  and  of  the  great  social 
and  political  systems  that  have  existed  for  over  a  century,  and 
attempt  to  do  in  a  day,  without  any  preparation,  what,  to  do  well 
and  safely,  will  require  years  of  patience  on  the  part  of  the  freed- 
men,  and  earnest,  honest  exertions  to  elevate,  improve,  and  edu- 
cate on  our  part.  Let  us  look  at  this  question  as  statesmen,  not 
as  partisans.  Let  us  not  suppose  that  the  parties  of  to-day  will 
have  a  perpetual  existence,  and  that  because  the  negro,  freed  and 
emancipated  by  us,  would  naturally  vote  on  the  side  of  his  deliv- 
erer to-day,  that  it  is  any  guarantee,  when  new  parties  are  formed 
and  a  competition  arises,  that  the  whole  or  the  major  part  of  his 
vote  will  be  cast  on  the  right  side.  White  men  and  black  men 
are  liable  to  the  same  infirmities. 

"Let  us  rather,  sir,  rejoice  at  what  has  been  already  done  for 
him,  and  be  content  to  watch  his  future.  Let  us  help  to  elevate 
and  improve  him,  not  only  in  education,  but  in  morals.  Let  us 
see  to  it  that  he  is  not  only  protected  in  all  his  rights  of  person 
and  of  property,  but  let  us  insist  that  the  amplest  guarantees 
shall  be  given.  Let  us  wait  until  the  great  problem  the  African 
is  now  working  out  has  been  finished,  and  we  find  that  he  thor- 
oughly comprehends  and  will  not  abuse  what  he  has  got,  before 
we  attempt  to  confer  other  privileges,  which,  when  once  granted, 
can  never  be  taken  from  him.  Sir,  let  it  not  be  forgotten  that 
' revolutions  never  go  backward;'  and  if  you  ever  confer  this 
right  on  the  negro,  and  find  it  will  not  work  well,  that  you  have 
been  too  hasty,  that  you  should  have  waited  awhile  longer,  you 
will  find  it  is  too  late,  and  that,  once  having  possessed  it,  they 
will  not  part  with  it  except  with  their  lives." 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  81 

On  the  17th  of  January  the  debate  was  resumed  by  Mr.  Dar- 
ling, of  New  York,  who  remarked : 

"  What  public  necessity  exists  for  the  passage  of  this  bill  at 
this  time?  There  are  no  benefits  which  the  colored  people  of 
this  District  could  attain  by  the  exercise  of  the  right  of  suffrage 
that  Congress  could  not  bestow.  Our  right  and  power  to  legis- 
late for  this  District  are  unquestioned,  and  instead  of  wasting 
days  and  weeks  over  a  question  which  is  exciting  bitter  feeling 
among  our  own  people,  had  we  not  better  give  our  attention 
to  matters  of  great  national  interest  which  so  urgently  demand 
speedy  action  on  our  part?  Let  us  pass  laws  for  the  education 
of  the  people  of  this  District,  and  fit  them  ultimately  to  receive 
the  elective  franchise;  or,  if  any  thing  is  required  to  satisfy  the 
intense  desire,  manifested  by  some  gentlemen  of  this  House,  to 
bestow  the  franchise  on  those  not  now  possessed  of  it,  give  it  to 
every  soldier  who  served  in  the  Union  Army  and  was  honorably 
discharged,  whether  old  or  young,  rich  or  poor,  native  or  foreign- 
born,  white  or  black,  and  show  to.  the  world  that  the  American 
people,  recognizing  the  services  and  sufferings  of  their  brave 
defenders,  give  them,  as  a  recognition,  the  highest  and  best  gift 
of  American  citizenship. 

"If  I  know  myself,  I  know  that  no  unjust  or  unmanly  preju- 
dice warps  my  judgment  or  controls  my  action  on  any  matter 
of  legislation  affecting  the  colored  race  on  this  continent.  I 
believe  in  their  equality  of  rights  before  the  law  with  the  domi- 
nant race.  I  believe  in  their  rights  of  life,  liberty,  and  the  pur- 
suit of  happiness.  And  yet  I  believe  that,  before  we  confer  upon 
them  the  political  right  of  suffrage,  as  contemplated  by  the  bill 
now  under  consideration,  we  should  seek  to  elevate  their  social 
condition,  and  lift  them  up  from  the  depths  of  degradation  and 
ignorance  in  which  many  of  them  are  left  by  the  receding  waves 
of  the  sea  of  rebellion.  There  are  many  strong  objections  to 
conferring  upon  the  colored  men  of  this  District  the  gift  of  un- 
qualified suffrage  without  any  qualification  based  on  intelligence. 
The  large  preponderance  which  they  possess  numerically  will 
inevitably  lead  to  mischievous  results.  Neither  would  I  entirely 
disregard  the  views  of  the  people  of  this  District,  many  of  whom 
I  know  to  be  sound,  loyal  Union  men. 

"But  I  do  not  wish  to  see  the  Union  party  take  any  step  in 
this  direction  from  which  they  may  desire  hereafter  to  recede. 
6 


82  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Let  us  first  rather  seek  to  enlighten  this  people,  and  educate  them 
to  know  the  value  of  the  great  gift  of  liberty  which  has  been 
bestowed  upon  them;  teach  them  to  know  that  to  labor  is  for 
their  best  interests;  teach  them  to  learn  and  lead  virtuous  and 
industrious  lives,  in  order  to  make  themselves  respected,  and 
encourage  them  to  act  as  becomes  freemen.  Then  they  will  vote 
intelligently,  and  not  be  subject  to  the  control  of  designing  men, 
who  would  seek  to  use  them  for  the  attainment  of  their  own 
selfish  ends. 

"Now,  Mr.  Speaker,  in  conclusion  I  desire  to  say  that,  as  no 
election  will  take  place  in  this  District  until  next  June,  there  can 
be  no  reason  for  special  haste  in  the  passage  of  this  bill,  and  that 
there  is  a  proposition  before  this  House,  which  seems  to  be  received 
with  very  general  favor,  to  create  a  commission  for  the  govern- 
ment of  this  city;  and,  in  order  to  give  an  opportunity  to  mature 
a  bill  for  that  purpose,  and  have  it  presented  for  the  considera- 
tion of  this  House,  I  move  the  postponement  of  the  pending  bill 
until  the  first  Tuesday  in  April  next." 

At  a  previous  stage  of  the  discussion  of  this  measure,  Mr.  Hale 
had  proposed  amendments  to  the  bill.  These  amendments  were 
now  the  subject  under  discussion.  They  were  in  the  following 
words : 

"Amend  the  motion  to  recommit  by  adding  to  that  motion  an  instruction 
to  the  committee  to  amend  the  bill  so  as  to  extend  the  right  of  suffrage  in  the 
Dfstrict  of  Columbia  to  all  persons  coming  within  either  of  the  following 
classes,  irrespective  of  caste  or  color,  but  subject  only  to  existing  provisions 
and  qualifications  other  than  those  founded  on  caste  or  color,  to  wit : 

"1.  Those  who  can  read  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States. 

"2.  Those  who  are  assessed  for  and  pay  taxes  on  real  or  personal  property 
within  the  District. 

"3.  Those  who  have  served  in  and  been  honorably  discharged  from  the 
military  or  naval  service  of  the  United  States. 

"And  to  restrict  such  right  of  suffrage  to  the  classes  above  named,  and  to 
include  proper  provisions  excluding  from  the  right  of  suffrage  those  who 
have  borne  arms  against  the  United  States  during  the  late  rebellion,  or  given 
aid  and  comfort  to  said  rebellion." 

At  the  close  of  Mr.  Darling's  remarks,  in  which  he  had  moved 
to  postpone  the  whole  subject,  Mr.  Hale,  of  New  York,  having 
argued  at  considerable  length  in  favor  of  the  several  clauses  of 
his  proposed  amendment,  remarked:  "Of  the  details  of  my 
amendment  I  am  by  no  means  tenacious.     I  do  not  expect  to 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  83 

bring  every  member  of  the  House,  or  even  every  member  on  this 
side  of  the  House,  to  concur  in  all  my  own  views.  I  desire  sim- 
ply to  put  my  measures  fairly  before  the  House,  and  to  advocate 
them  as  I  best  can.  I  am  ready  and  willing  to  yield  my  own 
preferences  in  matters  of  detail  to  their  better  judgment.  More 
than  that,  I  shall  not  follow  the  example  that  has  been  set  by 
some  on  this  side  of  the  House  who  oppose  my  amendment,  and 
who  claim  to  be  the  peculiar  friends  of  negro  suffrage,  by  pro- 
claiming that  I  will  adhere  to  the  doctrine  of  qualified  suffrage, 
and  will  join  our  political  enemies,  the  Democrats,  in  voting  down 
every  thing  else.  No,  sir ;  for  one,  and  I  say  it  with  entire  frank- 
ness, I  prefer  a  restricted  and  qualified  suffrage  substantially  upon 
the  basis  that  I  have  proposed.  If  the  voice  of  this  House  be 
otherwise — if  the  sentiment  of  this  Congress  be  that  it  is  more 
desirable  that  universal  suffrage  shoukf  be  extended  to  all  within 
this  District,  then,  for  one,  I  say  most  decidedly  I  am  for  it  rather 
than  to  leave  the  matter  in  its  present  condition,  or  to  disfranchise 
the  black  race  in  this  District." 

Mr.  Thayer,  of  Pennsylvania,  spoke  as  follows :  "  The  propo- 
sition contained  in  this  bill  is  a  new  proposition.  It  contemplates 
a  change  which  will  be  a  landmark  in  the  history  of  this  coun- 
try— a  landmark  which,  if  it  is  set  up,  will  be  regarded  by  the 
present  and  future  generations  of  men  .who  are  to  inhabit  this 
continent  with  pride  and  satisfaction,  or  deplored  as  one  of  the 
gravest  errors  in  the  history  of  legislation.  The  bill,  if  it  shall 
become  a  law,  will  be,  like  the  law  to  amend  the  Constitution  by 
abolishing  slavery,  the  deep  foot-print  of  an  advancing  civiliza- 
tion, or  the  conspicuous  monument  of  an  unwise  and  pernicious 
experiment. 

"  Much  has  been  said,  on  the  part  of  those  who  oppose  the  bill, 
on  the  subject  of  its  injustice  to  the  white  inhabitants  of  the  Dis- 
trict of  Columbia.  Indeed,  the  argument  on  that  side  of  the 
question  is,  when  divested  of  all  that  is  immaterial,  meretricious, 
and  extravagant,  reduced  almost  entirely  to  that  single  position. 
Abstract  this  from  the  excited  declamation  to  which  you  have 
listened,  and  what  is  left  is  but  the  old  revolting  argument  in 
favor  of  slavery,  and  a  selfish  appeal  to  prejudice  and  ignorance. 
It  is  insisted  that  a  majority  of  the  white  voters  of  the  District 
are  opposed  to  the  contemplated  law,  that  they  have  recently 
given  a  public  expression  of  their  opinion  against  it,  and  that  for 


84  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

that  reason  it  would  be  unjust  and  oppressive  in  Congress  to  pass 
this  law.  In  my  judgment,  this  is  a  question  not  concerning  alone 
the  wishes  and  prejudices  of  the  seven  thousand  voters  who  dwell 
in  this  District,  but  involving,  it  may  be,  the  honor,  the  justice, 
the  good  faith,  and  the  magnanimity  of  the  great  nation  which 
makes  this  little  spot  the  central  seat  of  its  empire  and  its  power. 

"  If  it  concerns  the  honor  of  the  United  States  that  a  certain 
class  of  its  people,  in  a  portion  of  its  territory  subject  to  its  ex- 
clusive jurisdiction  and  control,  shall,  in  consideration  of  the 
change  which  has  taken  place  in  its  condition,  and  of  the  fidelity 
which  it  has  exhibited  in  the  midst  of  great  and  severe  trials,  be 
elevated  somewhat  above  the  political  degradation  which  has 
hitherto  been  its  lot,  shall  the  United  States  be  prevented  from 
the  accomplishment  of  that  great  and  generous  purpose  by  the 
handful  of  voters  who  temporarily  encamp  under  the  shadow  of 
the  Capitol  ?  It  may  be  that  the  determination,  of  a  question  of 
so  much  importance  as  this  belongs  rather  to  the  people  of  the 
United  States,  through  their  Representatives  in  Congress  assem- 
bled, than  to  the  present  qualified  voters  of  this  District.  Sir, 
the  field  of  inquiry  is  much  wider  than  the  District  of  Columbia, 
and  the  problem  to  be  solved  one  in  which  not  they  alone  are  in- 
terested. When  Congress  determined  that  the  time  had  come 
when  slavery  should  be  abolished  in  this  District,  and  the  capital 
of  the  nation  should  no  longer  be  disgraced  by  its  presence,  did 
it  pause  in  the  great  work  of  justice  to  which  it  laid  its  hand  to 
hear  from  the  mayor  of  Washington,  or  to  inquire  whether  the 
masters  would  vote  for  it?  It  is  not  difficult  to  conjecture  what 
the  fate  of  that  great  measure  would  have  been  had  its  adoption 
or  rejection  depended  upon  the  voters  of  this  District. 

"  Shall  we  be  told,  sir,  that  if  the  Representatives  of  the  people 
of  twenty-five  States  are  of  the  opinion  that  the  laws  and  insti- 
tutions which  exist  in  the  seat  of  Government  of  the  United 
States  ought  to  be  changed,  that  they  are  not  to  be  changed  be- 
cause a  majority  of  the  voters  who  reside  here  do  not  desire  that 
change  ?  Will  any  man  say  that  the  voices  of  these  seven  thou- 
sand voters  are  to  outweigh  the  voices  of  all  the  constituencies 
of  the  United  States  in  the  capital  of  their  country?  I  dismiss 
this  objection,  therefore,  as  totally  destitute  of  reason  or  weight. 
It  is  based  upon  a  fallacy  so  feeble  that  it  is  dissipated  by  the 
bare  touch  of  the  Constitution  to  it. 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  85 

"  Whatever  is  the  duty  of  the  United  States  to  do,  that  is  for 
their  interest  to  do.     The  two  great  facts  written  in  history  by 
the  iron  hand  of  the  late  war  are,  first,  that  the  Union  is  indis- 
soluble, and  second,  that  human  slavery  is  here  forever  abolished. 
From  these  two  facts  consequences  corresponding  in  importance 
with  the  facts  themselves  must  result:  from  the  former,  a  more 
vigorous  and  powerful  nationality;  from  the  latter,  the  elevation 
and  improvement  of  the  race  liberated  by  the  war  from  bondage, 
as  well  as  a  higher  and  more  advanced  civilization  in  the  region 
where  the  change  has  taken  place.     It  is  impossible  to  say  that 
the  African  race  occupies  to-day  the  same  position  in  American 
affairs  and  counts  no  more  in  weight  than  it  did  before  the  rebell- 
ion.    You  can  not  strike  the  fetters  from  the  limbs  of  four  mill- 
ion men  and  leave  them  such  as  you  found  them.     As  wide  as 
is  the  interval  between  a  freeman  and  a  slave,  so  wide  is  the  dif- 
ference between  the  African  race  before  the  rebellion  and  after 
the  rebellion.     You  can  not  keep  to  its  ancient  level  a  race  which 
has  been  released  from  servitude  any  more  than  you  can  keep 
back  the  ocean  with  your  hand  after  you  have  thrown  down  the 
sea-wall  which  restrained  its  impatient  tides.     Freedom  is  every- 
where in  history  the  herald  of  progress.     It  is  written  in  the 
annals  of  all  nations.     It  is  a  law  of  the  human  race.     Ignorance, 
idleness,  brutality — these  belong  to  slavery ;  they  are  her  natural 
offspring  and  allies,  and  the  gentleman  from  New  York,  [Mr. 
Chanler,]  who  consumed  so  much  time  in  demonstrating  the  com- 
parative inferiority  of  the  black  race,  answered  his  own  argument 
when  he  reminded  us  that  the  Constitution  recognized  the  negro 
only  as  a  slave,  and  gave  us  the  strongest  reason  why  we  should 
now  begin  to  recognize  him  as  a  freeman.     Sir,  I  do  not  doubt  , 
that  the  negro  race  is  inferior  to  our  own.     That  is  not  the  ques- 
tion.    You  do  not  advance  an  inch  in  the  argument  after  you 
have  proved  that  premise  of  your  case.     You  must  show  that 
they  are  not  only  inferior,  but  that  they  are  so  ignorant  and  de- 
graded that  they  can  not  be  safely  intrusted  with  the  smallest 
conceivable  part  of  political  power  and  responsibility,  and  that 
this  is  the  case  not  on  the  plantations  of  Alabama  and  Missis- 
sippi, but  here  in  the  District  of  Columbia.     Nay,  you  must  not 
only  prove  that  this  is  the  general  character  of  this  population 
here,  but  that  this  condition  is  so  universal  and  unexceptional 
that  you  can  not  allow  them  to  take  this  first  step  in  freedom, 


86  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

although  it  may  be  hedged  about  with  qualifications  and  condi- 
tions ;  for  which  of  you  who  have  opposed  this  measure  on  the 
ground  of  race  has  proposed  to  give  the  benefit  of  it  to  such  as 
may  be  found  worthy  ?  Not  one  of  you.  And  this  shows  that 
your  objection  is  founded  really  on  a  prejudice,  although  it  as- 
sumes the  dignity  and  proportions  of  an  argument.  The  real 
question,  sir,  is,  can  we  afford  to  be  just — nay,  if  you  please,  gen- 
erous— to  a  race  whose  shame  has  been  washed  out  in  the  con- 
suming fires  of  war,  and  which  now  stands  erect  and  equal  before 
the  law  with  our  own?  Shall  we  give  hope  and  encouragement 
to  that  race  beginning,  as  it  does  now  for  the  first  time,  its  career 
of  freedom,  by  erecting  here  in  the  capital  of  the  republic  a  ban- 
ner inscribed  with  the  sacred  legend  of  the  elder  days,  '  All  men 
are  born  free  and  equal  ? '  or  shall  we  unfurl  in  its  stead  that  other 
banner,  with  a  strange  device,  around  which  the  dissolving  rem- 
nants of  the  Democratic  party  in  this  hall  are  called  upon  to 
rally,  inscribed  with  no  great  sentiment  of  justice  or  generosity, 
but  bearing  upon  its  folds  the  miserable  appeal  of  the  demagogue, 
'This  is  a  white  man's  Government?'  When  you  inaugurate 
your  newly-discovered  political  principle,  do  not  forget  to  invite 
the  colored  troops ;  beat  the  assembly ;  call  out  the  remnants  of 
the  one  hundred  and  eighty  thousand  men  who  marched  with 
steady  step  through  the  flames  and  carnage  of  war,  and  many  of 
whom  bear  upon  their  bodies  the  honorable  scars  received  in  that 
unparalleled  struggle  and  in  your  defense,  and  as  you  send  your 
banner  down  the  line,  say  to  them,  '  This  is  the  reward  of  a  gen- 
erous country  for  the  wounds  you  have  received  and  the  sufferings 
you  have  endured.' 

"  Shall  we  follow  the  great  law  to  which  I  have  referred — the 
law  that  liberty  is  progress — and  conform  our  policy  to  the  spirit 
of  that  great  law?  or  shall  we,  governed  by  unreasonable  and 
selfish  prejudices,  initiate  a  policy  which  will  make  this  race  our 
hereditary  enemy,  a  mine  beneath  instead  of  a  buttress  to  the 
edifice  which  you  are  endeavoring  to  repair  ?  Sir,  I  do  not  hesi- 
tate to  say  that,  in  my  opinion,  it  were  better  to  follow  where 
conscience  and  justice  point,  leaving  results  to  a  higher  Power, 
than  to  shrink  from  an  issue  which  it  is  the  clear  intention  of 
Providence  we  shall  face,  or  to  be  driven  from  our  true  course  by 
the  chimeras  which  the  excited  imaginations  of  political  partisans 
have  conjured  up,  or  by  the  misty  ghosts  of  long-buried  errors." 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  87 

Mr.  Van  Horn,  of  New  York,  while  willing  to  accept  the  bill 
as  originally  presented,  preferred  it  as  modified  by  Mr.  Hale's 
amendments.  In  his  speech  he  charged  those  who  had  opposed 
the  bill  as  laboring  in  the  interest  of  slavery. 

"  They  seem  to  have  forgotten,"  he  said,  "  in  their  advocacy  of 
slavery,  that  we  have  passed  through  a  fierce  war,  begun  by 
slayery,  waged  against  the  Government  by  slavery,  and  solely  in 
its  interest  to  more  thoroughly  establish  itself  upon  the  Western 
Continent,  and  crush  out  the  best  interests  of  freedom  and  human- 
ity ;  and  that  this  war,  guided  on  our  part  by  the  omnipotent  arm 
of  the  Invisible,  made  bare  in  our  behalf,  has  resulted  in  a  most 
complete  overthrow  of  this  great  wrong ;  and  by  the  almost  om- 
nipotent voice  of  the  republic,  as  now  expressed  in  its  fundamental 
law,  it  has  no  right  to  live,  much  less  entitled  to  the  right  of  burial, 
and  should  have  no  mourners  in  the  land  or  going  about  the  streets. 
Such  speeches  as  those  of  the  gentlemen  from  New  Jersey,  [Mr. 
Rogers,]  and  from  Pennsylvania,  [Mr.  Boyer,]  and  my  colleague 
and  friend,  [Mr.  Chanler,]  who  represents,  with  myself,  in  part, 
the  Empire  State,  carry  us  back  to  the  days  and  scenes  before  the 
war,  when  slavery  ruled  supreme,  not  only  throughout  the  land, 
by  and  through  its  hold  upon  power,  which  the  people  in  an  evil 
hour  had  given  it,  but  here  in  these  halls  of  legislation,  where 
liberty  and  its  high  and  noble  ends  ought  to  have  been  secured 
by  just  and  equal  laws,  and  the  great  and  paramount  object  of 
our  system  of  government  carried  out  and  fully  developed.  They 
seem  to  forget  that  liberty  and  good  government  have  been  on  trial 
during  these  five  years  last  past  of  war  and  blood,  and  that  they 
have  succeeded  in  the  mighty  struggle.  They  forget  that  Provi- 
dence, in  a  thousand  ways,  during  this  fierce  conflict,  has  given  us 
evidence  of  his  favor,  and  led  us  out  of  the  land  of  bondage  into 
a  purer  and  higher  state  of  freedom,  where  slavery,  as  an  institu- 
tion among  us,  is  no  more.  Why  do  they  labor  so  long  and  so 
ardently  to  resurrect  again  into  life  this  foul  and  loathsome  thing  ? 
Why  can  not  they  forget  their  former  love  and  attachments  in  this 
direction,  and  no  longer  cling  with  such  undying  grasp  to  this 
dead  carcass,  which,  by  its  corruptions  and  rottenness,  has  well 
nigh  heretofore  poisoned  them  to  the  death  ?  Why  not  awake  to 
the  new  order  of  things,  and  accept  the  results  which  God  has 
worked  out  in  our  recent  struggle,  and  not  raise  the  weak  arm 
of  flesh  to  render  null  and  void  what  has  thus  been  done,  and 


88  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS.. 

thus  attempt  to  turn  back  the  flow  of  life  which  is  overspread- 
ing all,  and  penetrating  every  part  of  the  body  politic  with  its 
noble  purposes  and  exalted  hopes  ?  " 

Thursday,  January  18,  was  the  last  day  of  the  discussion  of 
this  important  measure  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  When 
the  subject  was  in  order,  Mr.  Clarke,  of  Kansas,  "  as  the  only 
Representative  upon  the  floor  of  a  State  whose  whole  history  had 
been  a  continual  protest  against  political  injustice  and  wrong," 
after  having  advocated  the  bill  by  arguments  drawn  from  the 
history  of  the  country  and  the  record  of  the  negro  race,  remarked 
as  follows :  "  This  cry  of  poverty  and  ignorance  is  not  new.  I 
remember  that  those  who  first  followed  the  Son  of  man,  the  Savior 
of  the  world,  were  not  the  learned  rabbis,  not  the  enlightened 
scholar,  not  the  rich  man  or  the  pious  Pharisee.  They  were  the 
poor  and  needy,  the  peasant  and  the  fisherman.  I  remember,  also, 
that  the  more  learned  the  slaveholder,  the  greater  the  rebel.  I 
remember  that  no  black  skin  covered  so  false  a  heart  or  misdirected 
brain,  that  when  the  radiant  banner  of  our  nationality  was  near 
or  before  him,  he  did  not  understand  its  meaning,  and  remained 
loyal  to  its  demands.  The  man  capable  of  taking  care  of  himself, 
of  wife  and  children,  and,  in  addition  to  his  unrequited  toil,  to 
hold  up  his  oppressor,  must  have  intelligence  enough,  in  the  long 
run,  to  wield  the  highest  means  of  protection  we  can  give. 

"  But,  sir,  it  is  for  our  benefit,  as  well  as  for  the  benefit  of  the 
proscribed  class,  that  I  vote  for  and  support  impartial  manhood 
suffrage  in  this  District.  We  can  not  afford,  as  a  nation,  to  keep 
any  class  ignorant  or  oppress  the  weak.  We  must  establish  here 
republican  government.  That  which  wrongs  one  man,  in  the  end 
recoils  on  the  many.  Sir,  if  we  accept,  as  the  Republican  party 
of  the  Union,  our  true  position  and  our  duty,  we  shall  nobly  win. 
If  we  are  false  and  recreant,  we  shall  miserably  fail.  Let  us  have 
faith  in  the  people  and  the  grand  logic  of  a  mighty  revolution, 
and  dare  to  do  right.  Class  legislation  will  be  the  inevitable 
result  of  class  power ;  and  what  would  follow,  so  far  as  the  col- 
ored race  are  concerned,  let  the  recent  tragedy  of  Jamaica  answer. 

"  The  principles  involved  in  the  arguments  put  forth  on  the 
other  side  of  the  House  are  not  alone  destructive  to  the  rights 
of  the  defenseless,  intelligent,  and  patriotic  colored  men  of  this 
District,  but  they  militate  with  a  double  effect  and  stronger  pur- 
pose against  the  poor  whites  of  the  North  and  of  the  South,  against 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMB 1. 1.  89 

the  German,  the  Irishman,  and  the  poor  and  oppressed  of  every 
race,  wild  come  to  onr  Bhores  to  escape  the  oppression  of  despotic 
governments,  and  to  seek  the  protection  of  a  Government  the  true 
theory  of  \\lii<-li  reposes  in  every  citizen  a  portion  of  its  sovereign 
power.     Against  this  attempt  to  deny  or  abridge  in  any  way  the 

rights  of  the  weak,  the  ] r,  and  the  defenseless,  and  to  transfer 

the  governing  power  of  (he  nation  to  the  favored  classes,  to  the 
rich  and  the  powerful,  and  thus  change  the  very  purpose  and 
principles  of. mm-  republican  system,  I  protest  in  the  name  of  con- 
stitutional freedom,  and  in  behalf  of  equal  rights  and  equal  laws. 

"Iprotr-t  against  this  stealthy  innovation  upon  popular  rights, 
in  the  name  of  the  toiling  millions  of  the  land;  and  I  warn  the 
House  and  the  country  of  the  untold  mischief  and  disaster  which 
must  come  to  distract  and  divide  the  republic  in  the  future,  if  we 
follow  the  pernicious  and  destructive  doctrine-  founded  upon  either 
the  prejudices  of  clas  .  realth,  or  power.     I  protest  in  the 

name  of  a  constituency  whose  early  history  was  a  sublime  and 
persistent  struggle  against  the  prejudices  of  pampered  and  arro- 
gant ruffianism  at  home,  and  the  worse  than  ruffian  spirit  of  the 
Administrations  of  Pierce  and  Buchanan,  and  the  Democratic 
traitors  who  at  that  time  constituted  a  majority  of  this  House, 
and  were  engaged  in  preparing  the  nation  for  its  harvest  of  blood. 
We  nni-t  go  hack  to  the  spirit  and  purposes  of  Hie  founders  of  our 
Government.  We  must  accept  the  grand  logic  of  the  mighty 
revolution  from  which  we  are  now  emerging.  We  must  repudi- 
ate, now  and  forever,  these  assaults  upon  the  masses  of  the  people 
and  upon  the  fundamental  principles  of  popular  rights.  I  accept 
in  their  full  force  and  effect  the  principles  of  the  Declaration  of 
Independence,  and  by  constitutional  amendment  and  law  of  Con- 
gress I  would  stamp  them  with  irrevocable  power  upon  the  polit- 
ical escutcheon  of  the  newr  and  regenerated  republic.  I  would 
avoid  the  mistakes  of  the  past,  and  I  would  spurn  that  cringing 
timidity  by  which,  through  all  history,  liberty  has  been  sacrificed 
and  humanity  betrayed. 

"  Sir,  I  hesitate  not  to  say  that  if  we  do  not  gather  up,  in  the 
process  of  national  reconstruction,  the  enduring  safeguards  of  future 
peace,  we  shall  be  false  to  our  history  and  unmindful  of  the  grand 
responsibilities  now  devolving  upon  us.  The  establishment  of 
impartial  suffrage  in  this  District  will  be  a  fitting  commence- 
ment of  the  work.     It  will  be  hailed  by  the  friends  of  freedom 


90  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

every-where  as  a  return  to  a  policy  of  national  justice  too  long 
delayed.  In  behalf  of  the  State  I  have  the  honor  to  represent, 
and  upon  whose  soil  this  contest  for  a  larger  liberty  and  a  nobler 
nationality  was  first  submitted  to  the  arbitrament  of  arms,  I  hail 
this  measure  with  feelings  of  satisfaction  and  pride.  It  is  the 
legitimate  result  of  the  courage  and  fidelity  of  the  hardy  pioneers 
of  Kansas  in  1856,  who  dared  to  face  the  blandishment  of  power 
and  the  arrogance  and  brutality  of  slavery  when  compromisers 
trembled,  and  Northern  sycophants  of  an  oligarchic  despotism, 
then,  as  now,  scowled  and  fretted  at  the  progress  of  free  prin- 
ciples." 

Mr.  Johnson,  of  Pennsylvania,  after  having  adduced  a  variety 
of  arguments  against  the  bill,  finally  said :  "  Sir,  Ave  hear  a  tre- 
mendous outcry  in  this  House  in  favor  of  popular  government 
and  about  the  guarantee  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States 
to  the  several  States  that  they  shall  have  republican  governments. 
How  are  the  poor  people  of  this  District  to  have  a  republican 
form  of  government  if  gentlemen  who  have  come  *o  this  city,  per- 
haps for  the  first  time  in  their  lives,  undertake  to  control  them  as 
absolutely  and  arbitrarily  as  Louis  Napoleon  controls  France  or 
Maximilian  Mexico?  Gentlemen  ask,  What  right  have  they  to 
hold  an  election  and  express  their  sentiments  ?  What  right  have 
they  to  hold  such* an  election?  Surely  they  ought  to  have  the 
right  to  petition,  for  their  rulers  are  generally  arbitrary  enough. 

"  Mr.  Speaker,  it  seems  to  me  ridiculously  inconsistent  for  gen- 
tlemen upon  this  floor  to  prate  so  much  about  a  republican  form 
of  government,  and  rise  here  and  offer  resolution  after  resolution 
about  the  Monroe  doctrine  and  the  downtrodden  Mexicans,  while 
they  force  upon  the  people  of  this  District  a  government  not  of 
their  own  choice,  because  the  voter  in  a  popular  government  is  a 
governor  himself.  But,  sir,  this  is  only  part  of  a  grand  plan. 
Gentlemen  who  dare  not  go  before  their  white  constituents  and 
urge  that  a  negro  shall  have  a  vote  in  their  own  States,  come  here 
and  undertake  to  thrust  negro  suffrage  upon  the  people  here. 
Gentlemen  whose  States  have  repudiated  the  idea  of  giving  the 
elective  franchise  to  negroes,  come  here  and  are  willing  to  give 
the  suffrage  to  negroes  here,  as  if  they  intended  to  make  this  little 
District  of  Columbia  a  sort  of  negro  Eden ;  as  if  they  intended  to 
say  to  the  negroes  of  Virginia  and  Maryland  and  Delaware, 
'  You  have  no  right  to  vote  in  these  States,  but  if  you  will  go  to 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  01 

Washington  you  can  vote  there.'  I  imagine  I  can  see  them 
swarming  up  from  different  sections  of  the  country  to  this  city 
and  inquiring  where  the  polls  are.  Agents,  men  and  women, 
such  as  there  are  at  work  in  this  city,  will  no  doubt  be  at  work  in 
these  States,  telling  them  to  pack  their  knapsacks  and  march  to 
Washington,  for  on  such  a  day  there  is  to  be  an  election,  and 
there  they  will  have  the  glorious  privilege  of  the  white  man.  Sir, 
all  this  doctrine  is  destructive  of  the  American  system  of  govern- 
ment, which  recognizes  the  right  of  no  man  to  participate  in  it 
unless  he  is  a  citizen,  which  secures  to  the  citizen  his  voice  in  the 
control  and  management  of  the  Government,  and  prevents  those 
not  citizens  from  standing  in  the  way  of  the  exercise  of  his  just 
rights. 

"  This  Government  docs  not  belong  to  any  race  so  that  it  can  be 
divested  or  disposed  of.     The  present  age  have  no  right  to  termi- 
nate it.     It  is  ours  to  enjoy  and  administer,  and  to  transmit  to 
posterity  unimpaired  as  we  received  it  from  the  fathers." 
^  Mr.  Boutwcll,  of  Massachusetts,  then  addressed  the  House: 
"When  we  emancipated  the  black  people,  we  not  only  relieved 
ourselves  from  the  institution  of  slavery,  we  not  only  conferred 
upon  them  freedom,  but  we  did  more,  we  recognized  their  man- 
hood, which,  by  the  old  Constitution  and  the  general  policy  and 
usage  of  the  country,  had  been,  from  the  organization  of  the  Gov- 
ernment until  the  Emancipation  Proclamation,  denied  to  all  of  the 
enslaved  colored  people.     As  a  consequence  of  the  recognition  of 
their  manhood,  certain  results  follow  in  accordance  with  the  prin- 
ciples of  this  Government,  and  they  who  believe  in  this  Govern- 
ment are,  by  necessity,  forced  to  accept  those  results  as  a  conse- 
quence of  the  policy  of  emancipation  which  they  have  inaugurated 
and  for  which  they  are  responsible. 

"But  to  say  now,  having  given  freedom  to  them,  that  they  shall 
not  enjoy  the  essential  rights  and  privileges  of  men,  is  to  abandon 
the  principle  of  the  proclamation  of  emancipation,  and  tacitly  to 
admit  that  the  whole  emancipation  policy  is  erroneous. 

^  "It  has  been  suggested  that  it  is  premature  to  demand  imme- 
diate action  upon  the  question  of  negro  suffrage  in  the  District  of 
Columbia.  I  am  not  personally  responsible  for  the  presence  of 
the  bill  at  the  present  time,  but  I  am  responsible  for  the  observa- 
tion that  there  never  has  been  a  day  during  a  session  of  Congress 
since  the  Emancipation  Proclamation,  ay,  since  the  negroes  of  this 


92  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

District  were  emancipated,  when  it  was  not  the  duty  of  the  Gov- 
ernment, which,  by  the  Constitution,  is  intrusted  with  exclusive 
jurisdiction  in  this  District,  to  confer  upon  the  men  of  this  Dis- 
trict, without  distinction  of  race  or  color,  the  rights  and  privileges 
of  men.  And,  therefore,  there  can  be  nothing  premature  in  this 
measure,  and  I  can  not  see  how  any  one  who  supports  the  Eman- 
cipation Proclamation,  which  is  a  recognition  of  the  manhood  of 
the  whole  colored  people  of  this  country,  can  hesitate  as  to  his 
duty;  and  while  I  make  no  suggestion  as  to  the  duty  of  other 
men,  I  have  a  clear  perception  of  my  own.  And,  first,  we  are 
bound  to  treat  the  colored  people  of  this  District,  in  regard  to  the 
matter  of  voting,  precisely  as  we  treat  white  people.  And  I  do 
not  hesitate  to  express  the  opinion  that  if  the  question  here  to-day 
were  whether  any  qualification  should  be  imposed  upon  white 
voters  in  this  District,  if  they  alone  were  concerned,  this  House 
would  not,  ay,  not  ten  men  upon -this  floor  would,  consider  whether 
any  qualifications  should  be  imposed  or  not. 

"Reading  and  writing,  or  reading,  as  a  qualification,  is  de- 
manded, and  an  appeal  is  made  to  the  example  of  Massachusetts. 
I  wish  gentlemen  who  now  appeal  to  Massachusetts  wrould  often 
appeal  to  her  in  other  matters  where  I  can  more  conscientiously 
approve  her  policy.  But  it  is  a  different  proposition  in  Massa- 
chusetts as  a  practical  measure.  When,  ten  years  ago,  this  quali- 
fication was  imposed  upon  the  people  of  Massachusetts,  it  excluded 
no  person  who  was  then  a  voter.  For  two  centuries  we  have  had 
in  Massachusetts  a  system  of  public  instruction  open  to  the  chil- 
dren of  the  whole  people  without  money  and  without  price. 
Therefore  all  the  people  there  had  had  opportunities  for  education. 
Now,  why  should  the  example  of  such  a  state  be  quoted  to  justify 
refusing  suffrage  to  men  who  have  been  denied  the  privilege  of 
education,  and  whom  it  has  been  a  crime  to  teach?  Is  there  no 
difference  ? 

"  We  are  to  answer  for  our  treatment  of  the  colored  people  of 
this  country,  and  it  will  prove  in  the  end  impracticable  to  secure 
to  men  of  color  civil  rights  unless  the  persons  who  claim  those 
rights  are  fortified  by  the  political  right  of  voting.  With  the 
right  of  voting,  every  thing  that  a  man  ought  to  have  or  enjoy  of 
civil  rights  comes  to  him.  Without  the  right  to  vote,  he  is  secure 
in  nothing.  I  can  not  consent,  after  all  thp  guards  and  safeguards 
which  may  be  prepared  for  the  defense  of  the  colored  men  in  the 


DISTRICT  OF  COLUMBIA.  93 

enjoyment  of  their  rights — I  can  not  consent  that  they  shall  be 
deprived  of  the  right  to  protect  themselves.  One  hundred  and 
eighty-six  thousand  of  them  have  been  in  the  army  of  the  United 
States.  They  have  stood  in  the  place  of  our  sons  and  brothers 
and  friends.  They  have  fallen  in  defense  of  the  country.  They 
have  earned  the  right  to  share  in  the  Government;  and  if  you 
deny  them  the  elective  franchise,  I  know  not  how  they  are  to  be 
protected.  Otherwise  you  furnish  the  protection  which  is  given 
to  the  lamb  when  ho  "is  commended  to  the  wolf. 

"  There  is  an  ancient  history  that  a  sparrow  pursued  by  a  hawk 
took  refuge  in  the  chief  assembly  of  Athens,  in  the  bosom  of  a 
member  of  that  illustrious  body,  and  that  the  senator  in  anger 
hurled  it  violently  from  him.  It  fell  to  the  ground  (load,  and 
such  was  the  horror  and  indignation  of  that  ancient  but  not 
Christianized  body— men  living  in  the  light  of  nature,  of  rea- 
son— that  they  immediately  expelled  the  brutal  Arcopagite  from 
his  seat,  and  from  the  association  of  humane  legislators. 

"What  will  1)0  said  of  us,  not  by  Christian,  but  by  heathen 
nations  ev<  n,  if,  after  accepting  the  blood  and  sacrifices  of  these 
men,  we  hurl  them  from  us  and  allow  thorn  to  be  the  victims  of 
those  who  have  tyrannized  over  them  for  centuries?  I  know  of 
no  crime*tr*at  exceeds  this;  I  know  of  none  that  is  its  parallel ; 
and  if  this  country  is  true  to  itself,  it  will  rise  in  the  majesty  of 
its  strength  and  maintain  a  policy,  here  and  every-wherc,  by 
which  the  rights  of  the  colored  people  shall  be  secured  through 
their  own  power — in  peace,  the  ballot;  in  war,  the  bayonet. 

"  It  is  a  maxim  of  another  language,  which  we  may  well  apply 
to  ourselves,  that  where  the  voting  register  ends  the  military  ros- 
ter of  rebellion  begins;  and  if  you  leave  these  four  million  people 
to  the  care  and  custody  of  the  men  who  have  inaugurated  and  car- 
ried on  this  rebellion,  then  you  treasure  up  for  untold  years  the 
elements  of  social  and  civil  war,  which  must  not  only  desolate  and 
paralyze  the  South,  but  shake  this  Government  to  its  very  founda- 
tion." 

Soon  after  the  close  of  Mr.  BoutwelFs  speech,  Mr.  Darling's 
motion  to  postpone  and  Mr.  Hale's  motion  to  amend  having  been 
rejected,  a  vote  was  taken  on  the  bill  as  reported  by  the  commit- 
tee. The  bill  passed  by  a  vote  of  one  hundred  and  sixteen  in 
the  affirmative — fifty-four  voting  in  the  negative. 

The  friends  of  the  measure  having  received  evidence  that  it 


94  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

would  not  meet  with  Executive  approval,  and  not  supposing  that 
a  vote  of  two-thirds  could  be  secured  for  its  passage  over  the 
President's  veto,  determined  not  to  urge  it  immediately  through 
the  Senate. 

There  was  great  reluctance  on  the  part  of  many  Senators  and 
members  of  the  House  to  come  to  an  open  rupture  with  the 
President.  They  desired  to  defer  the  day  of  final  and  irrecon- 
cilable difference  between  Congress  and  the  Executive.  If  the 
subject  of  negro  suffrage  in  the  District  of  Columbia  was  kept  in 
abeyance  for  a  time,  it  was  hoped  that  the  President's  approval 
might  meanwhile  be  secured  to  certain  great  measures  for  pro- 
tecting the  helpless  and  maintaining  the  civil  rights  of  citizens. 
To  accomplish  these  important  ends,  the  suffrage  bill  was  deferred 
many  months.  The  will  of  the  majority  in  Congress  relating  to 
this  subject  did  not  become  a  law  until  after  the  opening  of  the 
second  session  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress. 


THE  FREEDMEN.  Vo 


CHAPTER  V. 

THE  FREEDMEN. 

Necessities  of  tiie  Freedmen — Committee  in  the  House — Early  move- 
ment by  the  Senate  in  behalf  of  Freedmen — Senator  "Wilson's  Bill — 
Occasion  for  it — Mr.  Cowan  moves  its  reference — Mr.  Reverdy  John- 
son ADVISES   DELIBERATION — A  QUESTION  OF  TIME  WITH  Mr.  SHERMAN — Mr. 

Trumbull  promises  a  moke  efficient  bill — Mr.  Sumner  presents  proof 

OF    THE   BAD    CONDITION   OF   AFFAIRS    IN    THE   SOUTH — Mr.  CoWAN    AM)    Mr. 

Stewart  produce  the  President  as  a  witness  for  the  defense — Mr. 
Wilson  on  the  testimony — "Conservatism" — The  bill  absorbed  in 
greater  meas! 

THE  necessities  of  three  millions  and  a  half  of  persons  made 
free  as  a  result  of  the  rebellion  demanded  early  and  efficient 
legislation  at  the  hands  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Congress.  In 
vain  did  the  Proclamation  of  Emancipation  break  their  shackles, 
and  the  constitutional  amendment  declare  them  free,  if  Congress 
should  not  "  enforce  "  these  important  acts  by  "  appropriate  legis- 
lation." 

The  House  of  Representatives  signified  its  view  of  the  impor- 
tance of  this  subject  by  constituting  an  able  Committee  "on 
Freedmen,"  with  Thomas  D.  Eliot,  of  Massachusetts,  as  its  chair- 
man. The  Senate^  however,  was  first  to  take  decided  steps  toward 
the  protection  and  relief  of  freedmen.  We  have  seen  that  on  the 
first  day  of  the  session  Senator  Wilson,  of  Massachusetts,  intro- 
duced a  bill  "  to  maintain  the  freedom  of  the  inhabitants  in  the 
States  declared  in  insurrection  and  rebellion  by  the  proclamation 
of  the  President  of  the  1st  of  July,  1862,"  of  which  the  following 
is  a  copy: 

Be  it  enacted,  etc.,  That  all  laws,  statutes,  acts,  ordinances,  rules  and  regu- 
lations, of  any  description  whatsoever,  heretofore  in  force  or  held  valid  in 
any  of  the  States  which  were  declared  to  be  in  insurrection  and  rebellion  by 


96  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

the  proclamation  of  the  President  of  the  1st  of  July,  1862,  whereby  or 
wherein  any  inequality  of  civil  rights  and  immunities  among  the  inhabitants 
of  said  States  is  recognized,  authorized,  established,  or  maintained,  by  reason 
or  in  consequence  of  any  distinctions  or  differences  of  color,  race,  or  descent, 
or  by  reason  or  in  consequence  of  a  previous  condition  or  status  of  slavery 
or  involuntary  servitude  of  such  inhabitants,  be,  and  are  hereby,  declared 
null  and  void;  and  it  shall  be  unlawful  to  institute,  make,  ordain,  or  establish, 
in  any  of  the  aforesaid  States  declared  to  be  in  insurrection  and  rebellion, 
any  such  law,  statute,  act,  ordinance,  rule,  or  regulation,  or  to  enforce,  or  to 
attempt  to  enforce,  the  same. 

Sec.  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  any  person  who  shall  violate  either 
of  the  provisions  of  this  act  shall  be  deemed  guilty  of  a  misdemeanor,  and 
shall  be  punished  by  a  fine  of  not  less  than  $500  nor  exceeding  $10,000,  and 
by  imprisonment  not  less  than  sis  months  nor  exceeding  five  years;  and  it 
shall  be  the  duty  of  the  President  to  enforce  the  provisions  of  this  act. 

On  the  13th  of  December,  Mr.  Wilson  called  up  his  bill,  which 
the  Senate  proceeded  to  consider  as  in  Committee  of  the  Whole. 
The  author  of  the  bill  presented  reasons  why  it  should  become  a 
law  :  "  A  bill  is  pending  before  the  Legislature  of  South  Carolina 
making  these  freedmen  servants,  providing  that  the  persons  for 
whom  they  labor  shall  be  their  masters ;  that  the  relation  between 
them  shall  be  the  relation  of  master  and  servant.  The  bill,  as 
originally  reported,  provided  that  the  freedmen  might  be  educated, 
but  that  provision  has  already  been  stricken  out,  and  the  bill  now 
lies  over  waiting  for  events  here.  That  bill  makes  the  colored 
people  of  South  Carolina  serfs,  a  degraded  class,  the  slaves  of 
society.  It  is  far  better  to  be  the  slave  of  one  man  than  to  be  the 
slave  of  arbitrary  law.  There  is  no  doubt  of  the  fact  that  in  a 
great  portion  of  those  States  the  high  hopes,  the  confidence,  and 
the  joy  expressed  last  spring  by  the  freedmen,  have  passed  away ; 
that  silence  and  sorrow  pervade  that  section  of  the  country,  and 
that  they  are  becoming  distrustful  and  discontented.  God  grant 
that  the  high-raised  expectations  of  these  loyal  and  deserted  people 
may  not  be  blasted.  God  forbid  that  we  should  violate  our  plighted 
faith." 

Mr.  Cowan  moved  the  reference  of  the  bill  to  the  Committee 
on  the  Judiciary,  but  its  author  was  unwilling  that  it  should  be 
so  referred,  since  it  was  highly  important  that  action  should  be 
had  upon  it  before  the  holidays. 

Mr.  Johnson  said  that  the  bill  gave  rise  to  grave  questions  on 
which  it  was  very  desirable  that  the  deliberation  of  the  Senate 
should  be  very  calmly  advised.     He  objected  on  the  ground  of 


THE  FBEEDMEJY.  97 

its  indefiniteness :  "There  are  no  particular  laws  designated  in 
the  bill  to  be  repealed.  All  laws  existing  before  these  States  got 
into  a  condition  of  insurrection,  by  which  any  difference  or  ine- 
quality is  created  or  established,  are  to  be  repealed.  What  is  to 
be  the  effect  of  that  repeal  upon  such  laws  as  they  exist?  In 
some  of  those  States,  by  the  constitution  or  by  the  laws,  (and  the 
constitution  is  equally  a  law,)  persons  of  the  African  race  are  ex- 
cluded from  certain  political  privileges.  Are  they  to  be  repealed, 
and  at  once,  by  force  of  that  repeal,  arc  they  to  be  placed  exactly 
upon  the  same  footing  in  regard  to  all  political  privileges  with  that 
which  belongs  to  the  other  class  of  citizens  ?  Very  many  of  those 
laws  are  laws  passed  under  the  police  power,  which  has  always 
been  conceded  as  a  power  belonging  to  the  States — laws  supposed 
to  have  been  necessary  in  order  to  protect  the  States  themselves 
from  insurrection.     Are  they  to  be  repealed  absolutely? 

"  No  man  feels  more  anxious  certainly  than  I  do  that  the  rights 
incident  to  the  condition  of  freedom,  which  is  now  as  I  person- 
ally am  glad  to  believe,  the  condition  of  the  black  race,  should 
not  be  violated;  but  I  do  not  know  that  there  is  any  more  press- 
ing need  for  extraordinary  legislation  to  prevent  outrages  upon 
that  class,  by  any  thing  which  is  occurring  in  the  Southern  States, 
than  there  is  for  preventing  outrages  in  the  loyal  States.  Crimes 
are  being  perpetrated  every  day  in  the  very  justly-esteemed  State 
from  which  the  honorable  member  comes.  Hardly  a  paper  fails 
to  give  us  an  account  of  some  most  atrocious  and  horrible  crime. 
Murders  shock  the  sense  of  that  community  and  the  sense  of  the 
United  States  very  often ;  and  it  is  not  peculiar  to  Massachusetts. 
Moral  by  her  education,  and  loving  freedom  and  hating  injustice 
as  much  as  the  people  of  any  other  State,  she  yet  is  unable  to  pre- 
vent a  violation  of  every  principle  of  human  rights,  but  we  are 
not  for  that  reason  to  legislate  for  her." 

Mr.  Wilson  replied :  "  The  Senator  from  Maryland  says  that 
cruelties  and  great  crimes  are  committed  in  all  sections  of  the 
country.  I  know  it ;  but  we  have  not  cruel  and  inhuman  laws  to 
be  enforced.  Sir,  armed  men  are  traversing  portions  of  the  rebel 
States  to-day  enforcing  these  black  lawTs  upon  men  whom  we  have 
made  free,  and  to  whom  we  stand  pledged  before  man  and  God  to 
maintain  their  freedom.  A  few  months  ago  these  freedmen  were 
joyous,  hopeful,  confident.  To-day  they  are  distrustful,  silent, 
and  sad,  and  this  condition  has  grown  out  of  the  wrongs  and 
7 


98  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

cruelties    and    oppressions    that    have    been    perpetrated    upon 

them." 

Mr.  Sherman  said :  "  I  believe  it  is  the  duty  of  Congress  to 
give  to  the  freedmen  of  the  Southern  States  ample  protection  in 
all  their  natural  rights.  With  me  it  is  a  question  simply  of  time 
and  manner.  I  submit  to  the  Senator  of  Massachusetts  whether 
this  is  the  time  for  the  introduction  of  this  bill.  I  believe  it 
would  be  wiser  to  postpone  all  action  upon  this  subject  until  the 
proclamation  of  the  Secretary  of  State  shall  announce  that  the 
constitutional  amendment  is  a  part  of  the  supreme  law  of  the  land. 
When  that  is  done,  there  will  then  be,  in  my  judgment,  no  doubt 
of  the  power  of  Congress  to  pass  this  bill,  and  to  make  it  definite 
and  general  in  its  terms. 

"  Then,  as  I  have  said,  it  is  a  question  of  manner.  When  this 
question  comes  to  be  legislated  upon  by  Congress,  I  do  not  wish 
it  to  be  left  to  the  uncertain  and  ambiguous  language  of  this  bill. 
I  think  that  the  rights  which  we  desire  to  secure  to  the  freedmen 
of  the  South  should  be  distinctly  specified. 

"  The  language  of  this  bill  is  not  sufficiently  definite  and  dis- 
tinct to  inform  the  people  of  the  United  States  of  precisely  the 
character  of  rights  intended  to  be  secured  by  it  to  the  freedmen 
of  the  Southern  States.  The  bill  in  its  terms  applies  only  to 
those  States  which  Avere  declared  to  be  in  insurrection;  and  the 
same  criticism  would  apply  to  this  part  of  it  that  I  have  already 
made,  that  it  is  not  general  in  its  terms." 

Mr.  Trumbull  made  some  remarks  of  great  significance,  as  fore- 
shadowing important  measures  soon  to  occupy  the  attention  of 
Congress  and  the  country : 

"I  hold  that  under  that  second  section  Congress  will  have 
the  authority,  when  the  constitutional  amendment  is  adopted, 
not  only  to  pass  the  bill  of  the  Senator  from  Massachusetts,  but 
a  bill  that  will  be  much  more  efficient  to  protect  the  freedman  in 
his  rights.  We  may,  if  deemed  advisable,  continue  the  Freed- 
man's  Bureau,  clothe  it  with  additional  powers,  and,  if  necessary, 
back  it  up  with  a  military  force,  to  see  that  the  rights  of  the  men 
made  free  by  the  first  clause  of  the  constitutional  amendment  are 
protected.  And,  sir,  when  the  constitutional  amendment  shall 
have  been  adopted,  if  the  information  from  the  South  be  that  the 
men  whose  liberties  are  secured  by  it  are  deprived  of  the  privilege 
to  go  and  come  when   they  please,  to  buy  and  sell  when  they 


THE  FREEDMEN.  99 

please,  to  make  contracts  and  enforce  contracts,  I  give  notice  that, 
if  no  one  else  does,  I  shall  introduce  a  bill,  and  urge  its  passage 
through  Congress,  that  will  secure  to  those  men  every  one  of  those 
rights;  they  would  not  be  freemen  without  them.  It  is  idle  to 
say  that  a  man  is  free  who  can  not  go  and  come  at  pleasure,  who 
can  not  buy  and  sell,  who  can  not  enforce  his  rights.  These  are 
rights  which  the  first  clause  of  the  constitutional  amendment 
meant  to  secure  to  all." 

On  a  subsequent  day,  December  20,  1865,  when  this  subject 
was  again  before  the  Senate,  Mr.  Sumner  spoke  in  its  favor.  Re- 
ferring to  the  message  of  the  President  on  the  "  Condition  of  the 
Southern  States,"  the  Senator  said: 

"When  I  think  of  what  occurred  yesterday  in  this  chamber; 
when  I  call  to  mind  the  attempt  to  whitewash  the  unhappy  con- 
dition of  the  rebel  States,  and  to  throw  the  mantle  of  official  ob- 
livion over  sickening  and  heart-rending  outrages,  where  human 
rights  are  sacrificed  and  rebel  barbarism  receives  a  new  letter  of 
license,  I  feel  that  I  ought  to  speak  of  nothing  else.  I  stood  here 
years  ago,  in  the  days  of  Kansas,  when  a  small  community  was 
surrendered  to  the  machinations  *o£  slave-masters.  I  now  stand 
here  again,  when,  alas!  an  immense  region,  with  millions  of  peo- 
ple, has  been  surrendered  to  the  machinations  of  slave-masters. 
Sir,  it  is  the  duty  of  Congress  to  arrest  this  fatal  fury.  Congress 
must  dare  to  be  brave ;  it  must  dare  to  be  just." 

After  having  quoted  copiously  from  the  great  Russian  act  by 
which  the  freedom  given  to  the  serfs  by  the  Emperor's  proclama- 
tion "  was  secured,"  and  having  emphasized  them  as  examples  for 
American  legislation,  Mr.  Sumner  said : 

"  My  colleague  is  clearly  right  in  introducing  his  bill  and  press- 
ing it  to  a  vote.  The  argument  for  it  is  irresistible.  It  is  essen- 
tial to  complete  emancipation.  "Without  it  emancipation  will  be 
only  half  done.  It  is  our  duty  to  see  that  it  is  wholly  done. 
Slavery  must  be  abolished  not  in  form  only,  but  in  substance,  so 
that  there  shall  be  no  black  code;  but  all  shall  be  equal  before 
the  law." 

He  then  read  extracts  from  letters  and  documents,  showing  the 
hostile  sentiments  of  the  people,  and  the  unhappy  condition  of 
the  colored  population  in  nearly  all  of  the  rebel  States,  and  closed 
by  saying :  "  I  bring  this  plain  story  to  a  close.  I  regret  that 
I  have  been  constrained  to  present  it.     I  wish  it  were  otherwise. 


Lot   : 


100  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

But  I  should  have  failed  in  duty  had  I  failed  to  speak.  Not  in 
anger,  not  in  vengeance,  not  in  harshness  have  I  spoken;  but 
solemnly,  carefully,  and  for  the  sake  of  my  country  and  human- 
ity, that  peace  and  reconciliation  may  again  prevail.  I  have 
spoken  especially  for  the  loyal  citizens  who  are  now  trodden 
down  by  rebel  power.  You  have  before  you  the  actual  condition 
of  the  rebel  States.  You  have  heard  the  terrible  testimony. 
The  blood  curdles  at  the  thought  of  such  enormities,  and  espe- 
cially at  the  thought  that  the  poor  freedmen,  to  whom  we  owe 
protection,  are  left  to  the  unrestrained  will  of  such  a  people 
smarting  with  defeat,  and  ready  to  wreak  vengeance  upon  these 
representatives  of  a  true  loyalty.  In  the  name  of  God  let  us 
protect  them.  Insist  upon  guarantees.  Pass  the  bill  now  under 
consideration;  pass  any  bill;  but  do  not  let  this  crying  injustice 
rage  any  longer.  An  avenging  God  can  not  sleep  while  such 
things  find  countenance.  If  you  are  not  ready  to  be  the  Moses 
of  an  oppressed  people,  do  not  become  its  Pharaoh." 

Mr.  Cowan  rebuked  the  Senator  from  Massachusetts  for  apply- 
ing the  term  "  whitewash  "  to  the  message  of  the  President.  He 
then  charged  Mr.  Sumner  with  reading  from  "  anonymous  letter- 
writers,  from  cotton  agents,  and  people  of  that  kind,"  and  placed 
against  them  "the  testimony  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States,  not  a  summer  soldier,  or  a  sunshine  patriot,  who  was 
a  Union  man,  and  who  was  in  favor  of  the  Union  at  a  time  and 
in  a  place  when  there  was  some  merit  in  it.  He  then  pro- 
ceeded to  read  extracts  from  the  President's  message  and  General 
Grant's  report. 

On  a  subsequent  day,  Mr.  Stewart,  of  Nevada,  made  a  speech 
in  opposition  to  the  positions  assumed  by  Mr.  Sumner.  He  de- 
clared his  opinion  that  "  if  the  great  mass  of  the  people  of  the 
South  are  capable  of  the  atrocities  attributed  to  them  by  the 
anonymous  witnesses  paraded  before  this  Senate,  then  a  union 
of  these  States  is  impossible ;  then  hundreds  and  thousands  of  the 
bravest  and  best  of  our  land  have  fallen  to  no  purpose;  then 
every  house,  from  the  gulf  to.  the  lakes,  is  draped  in  mourning 
without  an  object ;  then  three  thousand  millions  of  indebtedness 
hangs  like  a  pall  upon  the  pride  and  prosperity  of  the  people, 
only  to  admonish  us  that  the  war  was  wicked,  useless,  and 
cruel." 

After   making  the   remark,  "In  judging  of  testimony  upon 


THE  FREEDMEjY.  101 

ordinary  subjects,  we  take  into  consideration  not  only  the  facts 
stated,  but  the  character  and  standing  of  the  witness,  his  means 
of  information,  and  last,  but  not  least,  his  appearance  upon  the 
stand,"  Mr.  Stewart  thus  spoke  in  behalf  of  the  principal  wit- 
ness relied  upon  in  the  defense  of  the  South:  "In  this  great 
cause,  the  Senate  properly  called  upon  the  chief  Executive  of  the# 
nation  for  information.  Was  he  a  witness  whose  character  and 
standing  before  the  country  would  entitle  his  testimony  to  con- 
si.  kration?  Let  the  voice  of  a  great  people,  who  have  indorsed 
his  patriotism  and  administration,  answer.  Were  his.  means  of 
information  such  as  to  entitle  him  to  speak  advisedly  upon  this 
subject?  Let  the  machinery  of  the  Government,  that  collects 
facts  from  every  department,  civil  and  military,  upon  the  table 
of  the  Executive,  answer.  Was  not  his  appearance  before  the 
public,  in  communicating  tlii-  testimony  to  the  Senate  and  the 
country  such  as  t<>  remove  all  grounds  of  suspicion?  Let  the 
exalted  tone,  bole]  and  fearless  statement,  pure  and  patriotic  spirit 
of  both  his  m<  -  ie  his  best  vindication." 

The  Senator's  remarks  were  principally  directed  in  opposition 
to  the  policy  of  regarding  the  rebel  States  as  "conquered  terri- 
tories." He  finally  remarked :  "  I  wish  to  be  distinctly  under- 
stood as  not  opposing  the  passage  of  the  bill.  I  am  in  favor  of 
legislation  on  this  subject,  and  such  legislation  as  shall  secure  the 
freedom  of  those  who  were  formerly  slaves,  and  their  equality 
before  the  law;  and  I  maintain  that  it  can  be  fully  secured  with- 
out holding  the  Southern  States  in  territorial  subjugation." 

Mr.  Wilson  replied:  "The  Senator  who  has  just  addressed  us 
questions  the  testimony  adduced  here  by  my  colleague  yesterday. 
He  might  as  well  question  the  massacre  at  Fort  Pillow,  and  the 
cruelties  perpetrated  at  Anderson ville,  where  eighty-three  per  cent.  , 
of  the  men  who  entered  the  hospitals  died — Andersonville,  where 
more  American  soldiers  lie  buried  than  fell  throughout  the  Mexi-  ' 
can  war;  where  more  American  soldiers  lie  buried  than  were  | 
killed  in  battle  of  British  soldiers  in  Wellington's  four  great  bat-  | 
ties  in  Spain,  and  at  Waterloo,  Alma,  Inkermann,  and  Sebastopol. 
The  Senator  might  as  well  question  the  atrocities  of  sacked  Law- 
rence and  other  atrocities  committed  during  the  war.     If  he  wrill 
go  into  the  Freedman's  Bureau,  and  examine  and  study  the  offi- 
cial records  of  officers  who,  for  five  or  six  months,  have  taken 
testimony  and  have  large  volumes  of  sworn  facts ;  if  he  will  go 


102  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

into  the  office  of  General  Holt,  and  read  the  reports  there,  his 
heart  and  soul  "will  be  made  sick  at  the  wrongs  man  does  to  his 
fellow-man." 

The  Senator,  in  the  course  of  his  remarks,  took  occasion  to  ex- 
press his  opinion  of  "conservatism : "  "  Progress  is  to  be  made 
only  by  fidelity  to  the  great  cause  by  which  we  have  stood  dur- 
ing the  past  four  years  of  bloody  war.  For  twenty-five  years  we 
had  a  conflict  of  ideas,  of  words,  of  thoughts — words  and  thoughts 
stronger  than  cannon-balls.  We  have  had  four  years  of  bloody 
conflict.  Slavery,  every  thing  that  belongs  or  pertains  to  it,  lies 
prostrate  before  us  to-day,  and  the  foot  of  a  regenerated  nation  is 
upon  it.  There  let  it  lie  forever.  I  hope  no  words  or  thoughts 
of  a  reactionary  character  are  to  be  uttered  in  either  house  of 
Congress.  I  hope  nothing  is  to  be  uttered  here  in  the  name  of 
'  conservatism,'  the  worst  word  in  the  English  language.  If  there 
is  a  word  in  the  English  language  that  means  treachery,  servility, 
and  cowardice,  it  is  that  word  '  conservative.'  It  ought  never 
hereafter  to  be  on  the  lips  of  an  American  statesman.  For  twenty 
years  it  has  stood  in  America  the  synonym  of  meanness  and  base- 
ness. I  have  studied  somewhat  carefully  the  political  history  of 
the  country  during  the  last  fifteen  or  twenty  years,  and  I  have  al- 
ways noticed  that  when  I  heard  a  man  prate  about  being  a  con- 
servative and  about  conservatism,  he  was  about  to  do  some  mean 
thing.  [Laughter.]  I  never  knew  it  to  fail ;  in  fact,  it  is  about 
the  first  word  a  man  utters  when  he  begins  to  retreat." 

Mr.  Wilson  declared  his  motives  in  proposing  this  bill,  and 
yet  cheerfully  acquiesced  in  its  probable  fate :  "  Having  read  hun- 
dreds of  pages  of  records  and  of  testimony,  enough  to  make  the 
heart  and  soul  sick,  I  proposed  this  bill  as  a  measure  of  humanity. 
I  desired,  before  we  entered  on  the  great  questions  of  public  pol- 
icy, that  Ave  should  pass  a  simpje  bill  annulling  these  cruel  laws ; 
that  we  should  do  it  early,  and  then  proceed  calmly  with  our 
legislation.  That  was  my  motive  for  bringing  this  bill  into  the 
Senate  so  early  in  the  session.  Many  of  the  difficulties  occurring 
in  the  rebel  States,  between  white  men  and  black  men,  between 
the  old  masters  and  the  freedmen,  grow  out  of  these  laws.  They 
are  executed  in  various  parts  of  the  States ;  the  military  arrest 
their  execution  frequently,  and  the  agents  of  the  Freedmen's  Bu- 
reau set  them  aside ;  and  this  keeps  up  a  continual  conflict.  If 
these  obnoxious  State  laws  were  promptly  annulled,  it  would  con- 


TEE  FREED  MEN.  103 

tribute  much  to  the  restoration  of  good  feeling  and  harmony,  re- 
lieve public  officers  from  immense  labors,  and  the  freed'men  from 
suffering  and  sorrow;  and  this  is  the  opinion  of  the  most  expe- 
rienced men  engaged  in  the  Freedmen's  Bureau.  I  have  had  an 
opportunity  to  consult  with  and  to  communicate  with  many  of 
the  agents  of  the  Bureau,  with  teachers,  officers,  and  persons  who 
understand  the  state  of  affairs  in  those  States. 

"  But,  sir,  it  is  apparent  now  that  the  bill  is  not  to  pass  at  pres- 
ent ;  that  it  must  go  over  for  the  holidays  at  any  rate.  The  con- 
stitutional amendment  has  been  adopted,  and  I  have  introduced 
a  bill  this  morning  based  upon  that  amendment,  which  has  been 
referred  to  the  committee  of  which  the  Senator  from  Illinois 
[Mr.  Trumbull]  is  chairman.  This  bill  will  go  over;  possibly 
it  will  not  be  acted  upon  at  all.  We  shall  probably  enter  on  the 
discussion  of  the  broader  question  of  annulling  all  the  black  laws 
in  the  country,  and  putting  these  people  under  the  protection  of 
humane,  equal,  and  just  laws." 

The  presentiment  of  the  author  of  the  bill  was  realized.  The 
bill  never  saw  the  light  as  a  law  of  the  land.  Nor  was  it  need- 
ful that  it  should.  It  contributed  to  swell  the  volume  of  other 
and  more  sweeping  measures. 


104  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER  VI. 

THE  FREEDMEN'S  BUREAU  BILL  IN  THE  SENATE. 

The  bill  introduced  and  referred  to  Judiciary  Committee — Its  provis- 
I0NS — Argument  of  Mr.  Hendricks  against  it — Reply  of  Mr.  Trum- 
bull—  Mr.  Cowan's  amendment  —  Mr.  Guthrie  wishes  to  relieve 
Kentucky  from  the  operation  of  the  bill — Mr.  Creswell  desires 
that  Maryland  may  enjoy  the  benefits  of  the  bill — Mr.  Cowan's 
gratitude  to  God  and  friendship  for  the  negro — Remarks  by  Mr. 
Wilson — "The  short  gentleman's  long  speech" — Yeas  and  nays — 
Insulting  title. 

ON  the  19th  of  December  Mr.  Trumbull  gave  notice  that  "on 
some  early  day  "  he  would  "  introduce  a  bill  to  enlarge  the 
powers  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  so  as  to  secure  freedom  to 
all  persons  within  the  United  States,  and  protect  every  individual 
in  the  full  enjoyment  of  the  rights  of  person  and  property,  and 
furnish  him  with  means  for  their  vindication."  Of  the  introduc- 
tion of  this  measure,  he  said  it  would  be  done  "  in  view  of  the 
adoption  of  the  constitutional  amendment  abolishing  slavery.  I 
have  never  doubted  that,  on  the  adoption  of  that  amendment,  it 
would  be  competent  for  Congress  to  protect  every  person  in  the 
United  States  in  all  the  rights  of  person  and  property  belonging 
to  a  free  citizen;  and  to  secure  these  rights  is  the  object  of  the  bill 
which  I  propose  to  introduce.  I  think  it  important  that  action 
should  be  taken  on  this  subject  at  an  early  day,  for  the  purpose 
of  quieting  apprehensions  in  the  minds  of  many  friends  of  free- 
dom, lest  by  local  legislation  or  a  prevailing  public  sentiment  in 
some  of  the  States,  persons  of  the  African  race  should  continue  to 
be  oppressed,  and,  in  fact,  deprived  of  their  freedom ;  and  for  the 
purpose,  also,  of  showing  to  those  among  whom  slavery  has  here- 
tofore existed,  that  unless  by  local  legislation  they  provide  for  the 
real  freedom  of  their  former  slaves,  the  Federal  Government  will, 


THE  FREEDMEN.  205 

by  virtue  of  its   own   authority,  see  that  they  are  fully  pro- 
tected." 

On  the  5th  of  January,  1866,  the  first  day  of  the  session  of 
Congress  after  the  holidays,  Mr.  Trumbull  obtained  leave  to  in- 
troduce a  bill  "  to  enlarge  the  powers  of  the  Frecdnien's  Bureau." 
The  bill  was  read  twice  by  its  title,  and  as  it  contained  provisions  re- 
lating to  the  exercise  of  judicial  functions  by  the  officers  and  agents 
of  the  Frcedmen's  Bureau,  under  certain  circumstances,  in  the  late 
insurgent  States,  it  was  referred  to  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary. 
On  the  11th  of  January  Mr.  Trumbull  reported  the  bill  from 
the  Judiciary  Committee,  to  whom  it  had  been  referred,  with 
some  amendments  of  a  verbal  character.  On  the  following  day 
these  amendments  were  considered  by  the  Senate,  in  Committee 
of  the  Whole,  and  adopted.  The  consideration  of  the  bill  as 
amended  was  deferred  to  a  subsequent  day. 

The  I, ill  provided  that  "the  act  to  establish  a  Bureau  for  the 
relief  of  Freedmen  and  Refugees,  approved  March  3,  1865,  shall 
continue  until  otherwise  provided  for  by  law,  and  shall  extend  to 
refugees  and  freedmen  in  all  parts  of  the  United  States.  The 
President  is  to  be  authorized  to  divide  the  section  of  country 
containing  such  refugees  and  freedmen  into  districts,  each  contain- 
ing one  or  more  States,  not  to  exceed  twelve  in  number,  and  by 
and  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Senate,  to  appoint  an  as- 
sistant commissioner  for  each  district,  who  shall  give  like  bond, 
receive  the  same  compensation,  and  perform  the  same  duties  pre- 
scribed by  this  act  and  the  act  to  which  it  is  an  amendment. 
The  bureau  may,  in  the  discretion  of  the  President,  be  placed 
under  a  commissioner  and  assistant  commissioners,  to  be  detailed 
from  the  army,  in  which  event  each  officer  so  assigned  to  duty  is 
to  serve  without  increase  of  pay  or  allowances. 

^  "  The  commissioner,  with  the  approval  of  the  President,  is  to 
divide  each  district  into  a  number  of  sub-districts,  not  to  exceed 
the  number  of  counties  or  parishes  in  each  State,  and  to  assign  to 
each  sub-district  at  least  one  agent,  either  a  citizen,  officer  of  the 
army,  or  enlisted  man,  who,  if  an  officer,  is  to  serve  without  ad- 
ditional compensation  or  allowance,  and  if  a  citizen  or  enlisted 
man,  is  to  receive  a  salary  not  exceeding  §1,500  per  annum. 
Each  assistant  commissioner  may  employ  not  exceeding  six 
clerks,  one  of  the  third  class  and  five  of  the  first  class,  ane?  each 
agent  of  a  sub-district  may  employ  two  clerks  of  the  first  class. 


106  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

The  President  of  the  United  States,  through  the  War  Department 
and  the  commissioner,  is  to  extend  military  jurisdiction  and  pro- 
tection over  all  employes,  agents,  and  officers  of  the  bureau,  and 
the  Secretary  of  War  may  direct  such  issues  of  provisions,  cloth- 
ing, fuel,  and  other  supplies,  including  medical  stores  and  trans- 
portation, and  afford  such  aid,  medical  or  otherwise,  as  he  may 
deem  needful  for  the  immediate  and  temporary  shelter  and  supply 
of  destitute  and  suffering  refugees  and  freedmen,  their  wives  and 
children,  under  such  rules  and  regulations  as  he  may  direct. 

"  It  is  also  provided  that  the  President  may,  for  settlement  in 
the  manner  prescribed  by  section  four  of  the  act  to  which  this  is 
an  amendment,  reserve  from  sale  or  settlement,  under  the  home- 
stead or  preemption  laws,  public  lands  in  Florida,  Mississippi, 
and  Arkansas,  not  to  exceed  three  million  acres  of  good  land  in 
all,  the  rental  named  in  that  section  to  be  determined  in  such 
manner  as  the  commissioner  shall  by  regulation  prescribe.  It 
proposes  to  confirm  and  make  valid  the  possessory  titles  granted 
in  pursuance  of  Major-General  Sherman's  special  field  order, 
dated  at  Savannah,  January  16,  1865.  The  commissioner,  under 
the  direction  of  the  President,  is  to  be  empowered  to  purchase  or 
rent  such  tracts  of  land  in  the  several  districts  as  may  be  neces- 
sary to  provide  for  the  indigent  refugees  and  freedmen  dependent 
upon  the  Government  for  support;  also  to  purchase  sites  and 
buildings  for  schools  and  asylums,  to  be  held  as  United  States 
property  until  the  refugees  or  freedmen  shall  purchase  the  same, 
or  they  shall  be  otherwise  disposed  of  by  the  commissioner. 

"Whenever  in  any  State  or  district  in  which  the  ordinary 
course  of  judicial  proceedings  has  been  interrupted  by  the  rebell- 
ion, and  wherein,  in  consequence  of  any  State  or  local  law,  ordi- 
nance, police  or  other  regulation,  custom,  or  prejudice,  any  of  the 
civil  rights  or  immunities  belonging  to  white  persons  (including 
the  right  to  make  and  enforce  contracts,  to  sue,  be  parties,  and 
give  evidence,  to  inherit,  purchase,  lease,  sell,  hold,  and  convey 
real  and  personal  property,  and  to  have  full  and  equal  benefit  of 
all  laws  and  proceedings  for  the  security  of  person  and  estate),  are 
refused  or  denied  to  negroes,  mulattoes,  freedmen,  refugees,  or  any 
other  persons,  on  account  of  race,  color,  or  any  previous  condition 
of  slavery  or  involuntary  servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for 
crime  whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  or  wherein 
they  or  any  of  them  are  subjected  to  any  other  or  different  pun- 


TEE  FREED  MEM.  107 

ishment,  pains,  or  penalties,  for  the  commission  of  any  act  or 
offense,  than  are  prescribed  for  white  persons  committing  like 
acts  or  offenses,  it  is  to  be  the  duty  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States,  through  the  commissioner,  to  extend  military  protection 
and  jurisdiction  over  all  cases  affecting  such  persons  so  discrim- 
inated against. 

"  Any  person  who,  under  color  of  any  State  or  local  law,  ordi- 
nance, police,  or  other  regulation  or  custom,  shall,  in  any  State  or 
district  in  which  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings  has 
been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion,  subject,  or  cause  to  be  subjected, 
any  negro,  mulatto,  freedman,  refugee,  or  other  person,  on  account 
of  race  or  color,  or  any  previous  condition  of  slavery  or  involun- 
tary servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof  the  party 
shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  or  for  any  other  cause,  to  the  de- 
privation of  any  civil  right  secured  to  white  persons,  or  to  any 
other  or  different  punishment  than  white  persons  are  subject  to 
for  the  commission  of  like  acts  or  offenses,  is  to  be  deemed  guilty 
of  a  misdemeanor,  and  be  punished  by  fine  not  exceeding  $1,000 
or  imprisonment  not  exceeding  one  year,  or  both.  It  is  to  be  the 
duty  of  the  officers  and  agents  of  this  bureau  to  take  jurisdiction 
of  and  hear  and  determine  all  offenses  committed  against  this 
provision;  and  also  of  all  cases  affecting  negroes,  mulattoes, 
freedmen,  refugees,  or  other  persons  who  are  discriminated 
against  in  any  of  the  particulars  mentioned  in  this  act,  under 
such  rules  and  regulations  as  the  President  of  the  United  States, 
through  the  War  Department,  may  prescribe.  This  jurisdiction 
is  to  cease  and  determine  whenever  the  discrimination  on  account 
of  which.it  is  conferred  ceases,  and  is  in  no  event  to  be  exercised 
in  any  State  in  which  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings 
has  not  been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion,  nor  in  any  such  State 
after  it  shall  have  been  fully  restored  in  all  its  constitutional  re- 
lations to  the  United  States,  and  the  courts  of  the  State  and  of 
the  United  States  within  its  limits  are  not  disturbed  or  stopped 
in  the  peaceable  course  of  justice." 

Other  business  occupying  the  attention  of  the  Senate,  the  con- 
sideration of  the  Freedman's  Bureau  Bill  was  not  practically 
entered  upon  until  the  18th  of  January.  On  that  day,  Mr. 
Stewart  made  a  speech  ostensibly  on  this  bill,  but  really  on  the 
question  of  reconstruction  and  negro  suffrage,  in  reply  to  re- 
marks by  Mr.  Wade  on  those  subjects. 


108  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Mr.  Trumbull  moved  as  an  amendment  to  the  bill  that  occupants 
Oi  land  under  General  Sherman's  special  field  order,  dated  at  Sav- 
annah, January  16, 1865,  should  be  confirmed  in  their  possessions 
for  the  period  of  three  years  from  the  date  of  said  order,  and  no 
person  should  be  disturbed  in  said  possession  during  the  said  three 
years  unless  a  settlement  should  be  made  with  said  occupant  by  the 
owner  satisfactory  to  the  commissioner  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau. 

Mr.  Trumbull  explained  the  circumstances  under  which  the 
freedmen  had  obtained  possessory  titles  to  lands  in  Georgia,  and 
urged  the  propriety  of  their  being  confirmed  by  Congress  for  three 
years.     He  said : 

"  I  should  be  glad  to  go  further.  I  would  be  glad,  if  we  could, 
to  secure  to  these  people,  upon  any  just  principle,  the  fee  of  this 
land ;  but  I  do  not  see  with  what  propriety  we  could  except  this 
particular  tract  of  country  out  of  all  the  other  lands  in  the  South, 
and  appropriate  it  in  fee  to  these  parties.  I  think,  having  gone 
upon  the  land  in  good  faith  under  the  protection  of  the  Govern- 
ment, we  may  protect  them  there  for  a  reasonable  time;  and  the 
opinion  of  the  committee  was  that  three  years  would  be  a  reason- 
able time." 

On  the  following  day,  Mr.  Hendricks  presented  his  objections 
to  the  bill  in  a  speech  of  considerable  length..  He  was  followed 
by  Mr.  Trumbull  in  reply.  As  both  were  members  of  the  Judi- 
ciary Committee  from  which  the  bill  was  reported,  and  both  had 
carefully  considered  the  reasons  for  and  against  the  measure,  their 
arguments  are  given  at  length. 

Mr.  Hendricks  said :  "  At  the  last  session  of  Congress  the  origi- 
nal law  creating  that  bureau  was  passed.  We  were  then  in  the 
midst  of  the  war;  very  considerable  territory  had  been  brought 
within  the  control  of  the  Union  troops  and  armies,  and  within 
the  scope  of  that  territory,  it  was  said,  there  were  many  freedmen 
who  must  be  protected  by  a  bill  of  that  sort ;  and  it  was  mainly 
upon  that  argument  that  the  bill  was  enacted.  The  Senate  was 
very  reluctant  to  enact  the  law  creating  the  bureau  as  it  now  ex- 
ists. There  was  so  much  hesitancy  on  the  part  of  the  Senate,  that 
by  a  very  large  vote  it  refused  to  agree  to  the  bill  repprted  by  the 
Senator  from  Massachusetts,  [Mr.  Sumner,]  from  a  committee  of 
conference,  and  I  believe  the  honorable  Senator  from  Illinois,  [Mr. 
Trumbull,]  who  introduced  this  bill,  himself  voted  against  that 
bill ;  and  why?     That  bill  simply  undertook  to  define  the  powers 


--  .-„.    ."|*\  is 


>  ^  /V~ 


•*-<? 


THE  FREED  MEN.  109 

and  duties  of  the  Freedinen's  Bureau  and  its  agents,  and  the  Sen- 
ate would  not  agree  to  confer  the  powers  that  that  bill  upon  its 
face  seemed  to  confer,  and  it  was  voted  down ;  and  then  the  law  as 
it  now  stands  was  enacted  in  general  terms.  There  was  very  little 
gained,  indeed,  by  the  Senate  refusing  to  pass  the  first  bill  and 
enacting  the  latter,  for  under  the  law  as  it  passed,  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau  assumed  very  nearly  all  the  jurisdiction  and  to  exercise  all 
the  powers  contemplated  in  the  bill  reported  by  the  Senator  from 
Massachusetts. 

"Now,  sir,  it  is  important  to  note  very  carefully  the  enlarge- 
ment of  the  powers  of  this  bureau  proposed  by  this  bill ;  and  in 
the  first  place,  it  proposes  to  make  the  bureau  permanent.  The 
last  Congress  would  not  agree  to  this.  The  bill  that  the  Senate 
voted  down  did  not  limit  the  duration  of  the  bureau,  and  it  was 
voted  down,  and  the  bill  that  the  Senate  agreed  to  provided  that 
the  bureau  should  continue  during  the  war  and  only  for  one  year 
after  its  termination.  That  was  the  judgment  of  the  Senate  at  the 
last  session.  What  has  occurred  since  to  change  the  judgment  of 
the  Senate  in  this  important  matter  ?  What  change  in  the  condi- 
tion of  the  country  induces  the  Senate  now  to  say  that  this  shall  be 
a  permanent  bureau  or  department  of  the  Government,  when  at 
the  last  session  it  said  it  should  cease  to  exist  within  one  year 
after  the  conclusion  of  the  war?  Why,  sir,  it  seems  to  me  that 
the  country  is  now,  and  especially  the  Southern  States  are  now  in 
better  Condition  than  the  Senate  had  reason  to  expect  when  the 
law  was  enacted.  Civil  government  has  been  restored  in  almost 
all  the  Southern  States;  the  courts  are  restored  in  many  of 
them;  in  many  localities  they  are  exercising  their  jurisdiction 
within  their  particular  localities  without  let  or  hinderance;  and 
why,  I  ask  Senators,  shall  we  make  this  bureau  a  perpetual  and 
permanent  institution  of  the  Government  when  we  refused  to 
do  it  at  the  last  session  ? 

"  I  ask  Senators,  in  the  first  place,  if  they  are  now,  with  the 
most  satisfactory  information  that  is  before  the  body,  willing 
to  do  that  which  they  refused  to  do  at  the  last  session  of  Con- 
gress ?  We  refused  to  pass  the  law  when  it  proposed  to  establish 
a  permanent  department.  Shall  we  now,  when  the  war  is  over, 
when  the  States  are  returning  to  their  places  in  the  Union,  when 
the  citizens  are  returning  to  their  allegiance,  when  peace  and 
quiet,  to  a  very  large  extent,  prevail  over  that  country,  when  the 


110  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

courts  are  reestablished ;  is  the  Senate  now,  with  this  information 
before  it,  willing  to  make  this  a  permanent  bureau  and  depart- 
ment of  the  Government  ? 

"  The  next  proposition  of  the  bill  is,  that  it  shall  not  be  confined 
any  longer  to  the  Southern  States,  but  that  it  shall  have  a  govern- 
ment over  the  States  of  the  North  as  well  as  of  the  South.  The  old 
law  allowed  the  President  to  appoint  a  commissioner  for  each  of 
the  States-  that  had  been  declared  to  be  in  rebellion— one  for  each 
of  the  eleven  seceding  States,  not  to  exceed  ten  in  all.  This  bill 
provides  that  the  jurisdiction  of  the  bureau  shall  extend  where- 
ever,  within  the  limits  of  the  United  States,  refugees  or  frcedmen 
have  gone.  Indiana  has  not  been  a  State  in  insurrection,  and 
yet  there  are  thousands  of  refugees  and  freedmen  who  have  gone 
into  that  State  within  the  last  three  years.  This  bureau  is  to  be- 
come a  governing  power  over  the  State  of  Indiana  according  to 
the  provisions  of  the  bill.  Indiana,  that  provides  for  her  own 
paupers,  Indiana,  that  provides  for  the  government  of  her  own 
people,  may,  under  the  provisions  of  this  bill,  be  placed  under  a 
government  that  our  fathers  never  contemplated — a  government 
that  must  be  most  distasteful  to  freemen. 

"  I  know  it  may  be  said  that  the  bureau  will  not  probably  be 
extended  to  the  Northern  States.  If  it  is  not  intended  to  be  ex- 
tended to  those  States,  why  amend  the  old  law  so  as  to  give  this 
power?  AVhen  the  old  law  limited  the  jurisdiction  of  this  bureau 
to  the  States  that  had  been  declared  in  insurrection,  is  it  not 
enough  that  the  bureau  should  have  included  one  State,  the  State 
of  Kentucky,  over  which  it  had  no  rightful  original  jurisdiction? 
And  must  we  now  amend  it  so  as  to  place  all  the  States  of  the 
Union  within  the  power  of  this  irresponsible  sub-government? 
This  is  one  objection  that  I  have  to  the  bill,  and  the  next  is  the 
expense  that  it  must  necessarily  impose  upon  the  people.  We 
are  asked  by  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  in  its  estimates  to  appropri- 
ate $11,745,050;  nearly  twelve  million  dollars  for  the  support 
of  this  bureau  and  to  carry  on  its  operations  during  the  coming 
year.     I  will  read  what  he  says : 

'"It  is  estimated  that  the  amount  required  for  the  expenditures  of  the 
bureau  for  the  fiscal  year  commencing  January,  1860,  will  be  $11,745,050. 
The  sum  is  requisite  for  the  following  purposes: 

Salaries  of  assistant  and  sub-assistant  commissioners $147,500 

Salaries  of  clerks 82,800 


THE  FREEDMEM.  Ill 

Stationery  and  printing 63,000 

Quarters  and  fuel 15,000 

Clothing  for  distribution 1,750,000 

Commissary  stores 4,106,250 

Medical  department 500,000 

Transportation 1,980,000 

School  superintendents 21 ,000 

Sites  for  school-houses  and  asylums 3,000,000 

Telegraphing 18,000 

Making;  in  all  the  sum  which  I  have  mentioned.  The  old 
system  under  this  law,  that  was  before  the  commissioner  when  he 
made  this  estimate,  requires  an  expenditure  to  carry  on  its  opera- 
tions of  nearly  twelve  million  dollars,  and  that  to  protect,  as  it  is 
called,  and  to  govern  four  millions  of  the  people  of  the  United 
States — within  a  few  millions  of  the  entire  cost  of  the  Government 
under  Mr.  Adams's  administration,  when  the  population  of  the 
States  had  gone  up  to  many  millions.  How  is  it  that  a  depart- 
ment that  has  but  a  partial  jurisdiction  over  the  people  shall  cost 
almost  as  much  for  the  management  of  four  million  people  as  it 
cost  to  manage  the  whole  Government,  for  its  army,  its  navy,  its 
legislative  and  judicial  departments,  in  former  years  ?  My 
learned  friend  from  Kentucky  suggests  that  the  expenses  under 
John  Quincy  Adams's  administration  were  about  thirteen  million 
dollars.  What  was  the  population  of  the  United  States  at  that 
time  I  am  not  prepared  to  state,  but  it  was  far  above  four  mill- 
ions. Now,  to  manage  four  million  people  is  to  cost  the  people 
of  the  United  States,  under  the  law  as  it  stands,  nearly  as  much 
as  it  cost  the  people  to  manage  the  whole  affairs  of  the  Govern- 
ment under  the  administration  of  Mr.  John  Quincy  Adams. 

"  I  hear  Senators  speak  very  frequently  of  the  necessity  of 
economy  and  retrenchment.  Is  this  a  specimen,  increasing  the 
number  of  officers  almost  without  limit,  and  increasing  the  ex- 
penditures? I  think  one  might  be  safe  in  saying  that,  if  this 
bill  passes,  we  can  not  expect  to  get  through  a  year  with  less 
than  §20,000,000  of  an  expenditure  for  this  bureau.  But  that 
is  a  mere  opinion ;  for  no  man  can  tell  until  we  have  the  number 
of  officers  that  are  to  be  appointed  under  the  bill  prescribed  in 
the  bill  itself,  and  this  section  leaves  the  largest  discretion  to  the 
bureau  in  the  appointment  of  officers.  I  appeal  to  Senators  to 
know  whether,  at  this  time,  when  we  ought  to  adopt  a  system  of 


112  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

retrenchment  and  reform,  they  are  willing  to  pass  a  bill  which 
will  so  largely  increase  the  public  expenditures. 

"  Then,  sir,  when  this  army  of  officers  has  been  organized,  the 
bill  provides :  '  And  the  President  of  the  United  States,  through 
the  War  Department  and  the  commissioner,  shall  extend  mili- 
tary jurisdiction  and  protection  over  all  employes,  agents,  and 
officers  of  this  bureau/ 

"  Will  some  Senator  be  good  enough  to  tell  me  what  that 
means?  If  Indiana  be  declared  a  State  within  which  are  found 
refugees  and  freedmen,  who  have  escaped  from  the  Southern 
States,  and  if  Indiana  has  a  commissioner  appointed  to  her,  and 
if  in  each  county  of  Indiana  there  be  a  sub-commissioner  at  a 
salary  of  $1,500  a  year,  with  two  clerks  with  a  salary  of  §1,200 
each,  and  then  the  War  Department  throws  over  this  little  army 
of  office-holders  in  the  State  of  Indiana  its  protection,  what  does 
that  mean  ?  The  people  of  Indiana  have  been  ground  hard  under 
military  authority  and  power  within  the  last  three  or  four  years, 
but  it  was  borne  because  it  was  hoped  that  when  the  war  would 
be  closed  the  military  power  would  be  withdrawn  from  the  State. 
Under  this  bill  it  may  be  established  permanently  upon  the  peo- 
ple by  a  body  of  men  protected  by  the  military  power  of  the 
Government.  An  officer  is  appointed  to  the  State  of  Indiana  to 
regulate  the  contracts  which  are  made  between  the  white  people 
and  the  colored  people  of  that  State,  and  because  he  holds  this 
office,  not  military  in  its  character,  involving  no  military  act 
whatever,  the  military  throws  over,  him  its  iron  shield  of  protec- 
tion. What  does  that  mean?  Tf  this  officer  shall  do  a  great 
wrong  and  outrage  to  one  of  the  people,  and  the  wronged  citizen 
appeals  to  the  court  for  his  redress  and  brings  his  suit  for  dam- 
ages, does  the  protecting  shield  of  the  War  Department  prevent 
the  prosecution  of  that  suit  and  the  recovery  of  a  judgment? 
What  is  the  protection  that  is  thrown  over  this  army  of  office- 
holders?    Let  it  be  explained. 

"  It  may  be  said  that  this  is  a  part  of  the  military  department. 
That  will  depend  not  so  much  upon  what  Ave  call  them  in  the 
law  as  what  are  the  duties  imposed  upon  these  sub-agents.  It  is 
a  little  difficult  to  tell.  They  are  to  protect  the  freedmen;  they 
are  to  protect  refugees;  they  are  to  buy  asylums  and  school- 
houses  ;  they  are  to  establish  schools ;  they  are  to  see  to  the  con- 
tracts that  are  made  between  white  men  and  colored  men.     I 


THE  EBEEEMEJV.  113 

want  to  know  of  the  chairman  of  the  committee  that  reported  this 
bill,  in  Avhat  respect  these  duties  are  military  in  their  character? 
I  can  understand  one  thing,  that  it  may  be  regarded  as  a  war 
upon  the  liberties  of  the  people,  but  I  am  not  able  to  see  in  what 
respect  the  duties  of  these  officers  otherwise  are  military.  But 
this  protection  is  to  be  thrown  over  them.  I  will  not  occupy 
longer  time  upon  that  subject. 

"  The  third  section  of  the  bill  changes  the  letter  of  the  law  in 
two  respects :  first,  '  That  the  Secretary  of  War  may  direct  such 
issues  of  provisions,  clothing,  fuel,  and  other  supplies,  including 
medical  stores  and  transportation/  etc.     Those  last  words,  '  med- 
ical stores  and  transportation,'  make  the  change  in  the  law  that 
is  proposed  in  this  bill.     But,  sir,  in  point  of  fact  it  makes  no 
change  in  the  law;  for  if  you  will  turn  to  the  report  of  the  com- 
missioner of  this  bureau,  it  will  be  found  that  the  bureau,  during 
the  past  six  months,  has  been  furnishing  medical  supplies  and 
transportation.     A  very  large  item  in  the  expenditures  estimated 
for  is .  transportation.     But  I  wish  to  ask  of  the  Senator  who 
framed  this  bill  why  we  shall  now  provide  for  the  transportation 
of  freedmen  and  refugees.     During  the  war,  a  very  large  number 
of  refugees  came  from  the  Southern  States  into  the  North ;  but 
the  Commissioner  of  the  Freedinen's  Bureau,  in  his  report,  says 
that  those  refugees  have  mainly  returned,  and  but  few  remain 
now  to  be  carried  back  from  the  North  to  the  South,  or  who  de- 
sire to  be.     Then  why  do  we  provide  in  this  bill  for  transporta- 
tion?    Is  it  simply  to  give  the  bureau  the  power  to  transport 
refugees  and  freedmen  from  one  locality  to  another  at  its  pleas- 
ure ?     The  necessity  of  carrying  them  from  one  section  of  the 
country  to  another  has  passed  away.     Is  it  intended  by  this  bill 
that  the  bureau  shall  expend  the  people's  money  in  carrying  the 
colored  people  from  one  locality  in  a  Southern  State  to  another 
locality?     I  ask  the  Senator  from  Illinois,  when  he  comes  to  ex- 
plain his  bill,  to  tell  us  just  what  is  the  force  and  purpose  of  this 
provision. 

"The  fourth  resolution,  as  amended,  provides  for  the  setting 
apart  of  three  million  acres  of  the  public  lands  in  the  States  of 
Florida,  Mississippi,  and  Arkansas  for  homes  for  the  colored 
people.  I  believe  that  is  the  only  provision  of  the  bill  in  which 
I  concur.  I  concur  in  what  was  said  by  some  Senator  yesterday, 
that  it  is  desirable,  if  we  ever  expect  to  do  any  thing  substantially 


114  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

for  the  colored  people,  to  encourage  them  to  obtain  homes,  and  I 
am  willing  to  vote  for  a  reasonable  appropriation  of  the  public 
lands  for  that  purpose.  I  shall  not,  therefore,  occupy  time  in  dis- 
cussing that  section. 

"The  fifth  section,  as  amended  by  the  proposition  before  the 
Senate,  proposes  to  confirm  the  possessory  right  of  the  colored 
people  upon  these  lands  for  three  years  from  the  date  of  that 
order,  or  about  two  years  from  this  time.     I  like  the  amendment 
better  than  the  original  bill;  for  the  original  bill  left  it  entirely 
uncertain  what  was  confirmed,  and  of  course  it  is  better  that  we 
should  say  one  year,  or  three  years,  or  ten  years,  than  to  leave  it 
entirely  indefinite  for  what  period  we  do  confirm  the  possession. 
I  have  no  doubt  that  General  Sherman  had  the  power,  as  a  mili- 
tary commander,  at  the  time,  to  set  apart  the  abandoned  lands 
along  the  coast  as  a  place  in  which  to  leave  the  colored  people 
then  surrounding  his  army ;  but  that  General  Sherman  during  the 
war,  or  that  Congress  after  the  war,  except  by  a  proceeding  for 
confiscation,  can  take  the  land  permanently  from  one  person  and 
give  it  to  another,  I  do  not  admit;  nor  did  General  Sherman 
undertake  to  do  that.     In  express  terms,  he  said  that  they  should 
have  the  right  of  possession ;  for  what  length  of  time  he  did  not 
say,  for  the  reason  that  he  could  not  say.     It  was  a  military  pos- 
session that  he  conferred,  and  that  possession  would  last  only  dur- 
ing the  continuance  of  the  military  occupation,  and  no  longer.    If 
General  Sherman,  by  his  General  Order  No.  15,  placed  the  colored 
people  upon  the  lands  along  the  coast  of  South  Carolina,  Georgia, 
and  Florida,  for  a  temporary  purpose,  what  was  the  extent  of  the 
possessory  right  which  he  could  confer?     He  did  not  undertake  to 
give  a  title  for  any  defined  period,  but  simply  the  right  of  posses- 
sion.    It  is  fair  to  construe  his  order  as  meaning  only  what  he 
could  do,  giving  the  right  of  possession  during  military  occupancy. 
Now,  sir,  the  President  informs  us  that  the  rebellion  is  suppressed ; 
that  the  war  is  over ;  that  military  law  no  longer  governs  in  that 
country ;  but  that  peace  is  restored,  and  that  civil  law  shall  now 
govern.     What,  then,  is  the  law  upon  the  subject?     A  right  of 
possession  is  given  by  the  commanding  general  to  certain  persons 
within  that  region  of  country;    peace  follows,  and  with  peace 
comes  back  the  right  of  the  real  owners  to  the  possession.     This 
possession  that  the  General  undertook  to  give,  according  to  law, 
could  not  last  longer  than  the  military  occupancy.     When  peace 


THE  FREEDMEN.  115 

comes,  the  right  of  the  owners  return  with  it.  Then  how  is  it 
that  Congress  can  undertake  to  say  that  the  property  that  belongs 
to  A,  B;  and  C,  upon  the  islands  and  sea-coast  of  the  South,  shall, 
for  two  years  from  this  date,  not  belong  to  them,  but  shall  be- 
long to  certain  colored  people?  I  want  to  know  upon  what 
principle  of' law  Congress  can  take  the  property  of  one  man  and 
give  it  to  another. 

"  I  know  very  well  what  may  be  done  in  the  courts  by  a  pro- 
ceeding for  confiscation.  I  am  not  discussing  that  question.  If 
there  has  been  any  property  confiscated  and  disposed  of  under 
proceedings  of  confiscation,  I  do  not  question  the  title  here.  That 
is  purely  a  judicial  question.  But,  sir,  I  deny  that  Congress  can 
legislate  the  property  of  one  man  into  the  possession  of  another. 
If  this  section  is  to  pass,  I  prefer  that  this  confirmation  shall  be 
for  three  years  rather  than  leave  it  in  the  uncertain  state  in  which 
General  Sherman's  order  left  it. 

"The  sixth  section  provides,  'That  the  commissioners  shall, 
under  the  direction  of  the  President,  procure  in  the  name  of  the 
United  States,  by  grant  or  purchase,  such  lands  within  the 
districts  aforesaid  as  may  be  required  for  refugees  and  freedmen 
dependent  on  the  Government  for  support ;  and  he  shall  provide, 
or  cause  to  be  erected,  suitable  buildings  for  asylums  and  schools.' 
Upon  what  principle  can  you  authorize  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  to  buy  lands  for  the  poor  people  in  any  State  of 
the  Union?  They  may  be  very  meritorious;  their  cases  may 
appeal  with  great  force  to  our  sympathies ;  it  may  almost  appear 
necessary  to  prevent  suffering  that  we  should  buy  a  home  for 
each  poor  person  in  the  country;  but  where  is  the  power  of  the 
General  Government  to  do  this  thing?  Is  it  true  that  by  this 
revolution  the  persons  and  property  of  the  people  have  been 
brought  within  the  jurisdiction  of  Congress,  and  taken  from 
without  the  control  and  jurisdiction  of  the  States?  I  have  under- 
stood heretofore  that  it  has  never  been  disputed  that  the  duty  to 
provide  for  the  poor,  the  insane,  the  blind,  and  all  who  are  de- 
pendent upon  society,  rests  upon  the  States,  and  that  the  power 
does  not  belong  to  the  General  Government.  What  has  occurred, 
then,  in  this  war  that  has  changed  the  relation  of  the  people  to 
the  General  Government  to  so  great  an  extent  that  Congress  may 
become  the  purchasers  of  homes  for  them  ?  If  we  can  go  so  far, 
I  know  of  no  limit  to  the  powers  of  Congress.     Here  is  a  propo- 


116  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

sition  to  buy  a  home  for  each  dependent  freeman  and  refugee. 
The  section  is  not  quite  as  strong  as  it  might  have  been.  It 
would  have  been  stronger,  I  think,  in  the  present  state  of  public 
sentiment,  if  the  word  *  refugee '  had  been  left  out,  and  if  it  had 
been  only  for  the  freedmen,  because  it  does  not  seem  to  be  so  pop- 
ular now  to  buy  a  home  for  a  white  man  as  to  buy  one  for  a  colored 
man.  But  this  bill  authorizes  the  officers  of  the  Freednien's 
Bureau  to  buy  homes  for  white  people  and  for  black  people  only 
upon  the  ground  that  they  are  dependent.  If  this  be  the  law 
now,  there  has  come  about  a  startling  change  in  the  relation  of 
the  States  and  of  the  people  to  the  General  Government.  I  shall 
be  very  happy  to  hear  from  the  learned  head  of  the  Judiciary 
Committee  upon  what  principle  it  is  that  in  any  one  single  case 
you  may  buy  a  home  for  any  man,  whether  he  be  rich  or  poor. 
The  General  Government  may  buy  land  when  it  is  necessary  for 
the  exercise  of  any  of  its  powers ;  but  outside  of  that,  it  seems  to 
me,  there  is  no  power  within  the  Constitution  allowing  it. 

"  The  most  remarkable  sections  of  the  bill,  however;  are  the 
seventh  and   eighth,  and  to  those  sections  I  will  ask  the  very 
careful  attention  of  Senators ;    for  I  think  if  we  can  pass  those 
two  sections,  and  make  them  a  law,  then  indeed  this  Government 
can  do  any  thing.     It  will  be  useless  to  speak  any  longer  of 
limitations  upon  the  powers  of  the  General  Government ;  it  will 
be  idle  to  speak  of  the  reserved  power  of  the  States ;  State  rights 
and  State  power  will  have  passed  away  if  we  can  do  what  is 
proposed  in  the  seventh  and  eighth  sections  of  this  bill.     We 
propose,  first,  to  legislate  against  the  effects  of  '  local  law,  ordi- 
nance, police,  or  other  regulation;'   then  against  l custom/  and 
lastly,  against  'prejudice,'  and  to  provide  that  'if  any  of  the  civil 
rights  or  immunities  belonging  to  white  persons'  are  denied  to 
any  person  because  of  color,  then  that  person  shall  be  taken  un- 
der the  military  protection  of  the  Government.     I  do  not  know 
whether  that  will  be  understood  to  extend  to  Indiana  or  not. 
That  will  be  a  very  nice  point  for  the  bureau  to  decide,  I  pre- 
sume, after  the  enactment  of  the  law.     The  section  limits  its 
operation  to  'any  State  or  district  in  which  the  ordinary  course 
of  judicial  proceedings  has  been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion.'     It 
will  be  a  little  difficult  to  say  whether  in  the  State  of  Indiana 
and  Ohio  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceeding  has  or  has 
not  been  interrupted.     We  had  some  war  in  Indiana ;   we  had  a 


THE  FREEDMEN.  117 

very  great  raid  through  that  State  and  some  fighting;  and  I 
presume  that  in  some  cases  the  proceedings  of  the  courts  were 
interrupted  and  the  courts  were  unable  to  go  on  with  their  busi- 
ness, so  that  it  might  be  said  that  even  in  some  of  the  Northern 
States  this  provision  of  the  bill  would  be  applicable.  Suppose 
that  it  were  applicable  to  the  State  of  Indiana,  then  every  man  in 
that  State,  who  attempted  to  execute  the  constitution  and  laws 
of  the  State,  would  be  liable  for  a  violation  of  the  law.  We  do 
not  allow  to  colored  people  there  many  civil  rights  and  immuni- 
ties which  are  enjoyed  by  the  white  people.  It  became  the  policy 
of  the  State  in  1852  to  prohibit  the  immigration  of  colored  people 
into  .that  State.  I  am  not  going  to  discuss  the  question  whether 
that  was  a  wise  policy  or  not.  At  the  time  it  received  the  ap- 
proval of  my  judgment.  Under  that  constitutional  provision, 
and  the  laws  enacted  in  pursuance  of  it,  a  colored  man  coming 
into  the  State  since  1852  can  not  acquire  a  title  to  real  estate, 
can  not  make  certain  contracts,  and  no  negro  man  is  allowed  to 
intermarry  with  a  white  woman.  These  are  civil  rights  that  are 
denied,  and  yet  this  bill  proposes,  if  they  are  still  denied  in  any 
State  whose  courts  have  been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion,  the 
military  protection  of  the  Government  shall  be  extended  over 
the  person  who  is  thus  denied  such  civil  rights  or  immunities. 

"  The  next  section  of  the  bill  provides  punishments  where  any 
of  these  things  are  done,  where  any  right  is  denied  to  a  colored 
man  which  under  State  law  is  allowed  to  a  white  man.  The 
language  is  very  vague,  and  it  is  very  difficult  to  say  what  this 
section  will  mean.  If  it  has  as  broad  a  construction  as  is  at- 
tempted to  be  given  to  the  second  section  of  the  constitutional 
amendment,  I  would  not  undertake  to  guess  what  it  means. 
Any  man  who  shall  deny  to  any  colored  man  any  civil  rights 
secured  to  white  persons,  shall  be  liable  to  be  taken  before  the 
officers  of  this  bureau  and  to  be  punished  according  to  the  pro- 
visions of  this  section.  In  the  first  place,  now  that  peace  is 
restored,  now  that  there  is  no  war,  now  that  men  are  no  longer 
under  military  rule,  but  are  under  civil  rule,  I  want  to  know 
how  such  a  court  can  be  organized;  how  it  is  that  the  citizen 
may  be  arrested  without  indictment,  and  may  be  brought  before 
the  officers  of  this  bureau  and  tried  without  a  jury,  tried  with- 
out the  forms  which  the  Constitution  requires. 

"But  sir,  this  section  is  most  objectionable  in  regard  to  the 


118  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

offense  that  it  defines.  If  any  portion  of  the  law  ought  to  be 
certain,  it  is  that  which  defines  crime  and  prescribes  the  punish- 
ment. What  is  meant  by  this  general  expression,  'the  depriva- 
tion of  any  civil  right  secured  to  white  persons  ? '  The  agent  in 
one  State  may  construe  it  to  mean  one  thing,  and  the  agent  in 
another  State  another  thing.  It  is  broad  and  comprehensive — 
'the  deprivation  of  any  civil  right  secured  to  white  persons.' 
That  act  of  deprivation  is  the  crime  that  is  to  be  punished.  Take 
the  case  that  I  have  just  referred  to.  Suppose  a  minister,  when 
called  upon,  should  refuse  to  solemnize  a  marriage  between  a 
colored  man  and  a  white  woman  because  the  law  of.  the  State 
forbade  it,  would  he  then,  refusing  to  recognize  a  civil  right 
which  is  enjoyed  by  white  persons,  be  liable  to  this  punisment? 

"My  judgment  is  that,  under  the  second  section  of  the  consti- 
tutional amendment,  we  may  pass  such  a  law  as  will  secure  the 
freedom  declared  in  the  first  section,  but  that  we  can  not  go  be- 
yond that  limitation.  If  a  man  has  been,  by  this  provision  of 
the  Constitution,  made  free  from  his  master,  and  that  master 
undertakes  to  make  him  a  slave  again,  we  may  pass  such  laws 
as  are  sufficient  in  our  judgment  to  prevent  that  act;  but  if  the 
Legislature  of  the  State  denies  to  the  citizen  as  he  is  now  called, 
the  freedman,  equal  privileges  with  the  white  man,  I  want  to 
know  if  that  Legislature,  and  each  member  of  that  Legislature,  is 
responsible  to  the  penalties  prescribed  in  this  bill  ?  It  is  not  an 
act  of  the  old  master ;  it  is  an  act  of  the  State  government,  which 
defines  and  regulates  the  civil  rights  of  the  people. 

"I  regard  it  as  very  dangerous  legislation.  It  proposes  to 
establish  a  government  within  a  government — not  a  republic 
within  a  republic,  but  a  cruel  despotism  within  a  republic.  In 
times  of  peace,  in  communities  that  are  quiet  and  orderly,  and 
obedient  to  law,  it  is  proposed  to  establish  a  government  not 
responsible  to  the  people,  the  officers  of  which  are  not  selected 
by  the  people,  the  officers  of  which  need  not  be  of  the  people 
governed — a  government  more  cruel,  more  despotic,  more  'danger- 
ous to  the  liberties  of  the  people  than  that  against  which  our 
forefathers  fought  in  the  Revolution.  There  is  nothing  that  these 
men  may  not  do,  under  this  bill,  to  oppress  the  people. 

"Sir,  if  we  establish  courts  in  the  Southern  States,  we  ought 
to  establish  courts  that  will  be  on  both  sides,  or  on  neither  side ; 
but  the  doctrine  now  is,  that  if  a  man  is  appointed,  either  to  an 


THE  FREEDMEN.  119 

executive  or  a  judicial  office,  in  any  locality  where  there  arc 
colored  people,  he  must  be  on  the  side  of  the  negro.  I  have  not 
heard,  since  Congress  met,  that  any  colored  man  has  done  a 
wrong  in  this  country  for  many  years ;  and  I  have  scarcely  heard 
that  any  white  man  coming  in  contact  with  colored  people  lias 
done  right  for  a  number  of  years.  Every  body  is  expected  to 
take  sides  for  the  colored  man  against  the  white  man.  If  I  have 
to  take  sides,  it  will  be  with  the  men  of  my  own  color  and  my 
own  race;  but  I  do  not  wish  to  do  that.  Toward  these  people 
I  hope  that  the  legislation  of  Congress,  within  the  constitutional 
powers  of  Congress,  will  be  just  and  fair — just  to  them  and  just 
to  the  white  people  among  whom  they  live ;  that  it  will  promote 
harmony  among  the  people,  and  not  discord ;  that  it  will  restore 
labor  to  its  channels,  and  bring  about  again  in  those  States  a 
condition  of  prosperity  and  happiness.  Do  we  not  all  desire 
that  ?  If  avc  do,  is  it  well  for  us  to  inflame  our  passions  and  the 
passions  of  the  people  of  the  North,  so  that  their  judgments  shall 
not  be  equal  upon  the  questions  between  these  races?  It  is  all 
Very  well  for  us  to  have  sympathy  for  the  poor  and  the  unfor- 
tunate, but  both  sides  call  for  our  sympathy  in  the  South.  The 
master,  who,  by  his  wickedness  and  folly,  has  involved  himself 
in  the  troubles  that  now  beset  him,  has  returned,  abandoning  his 
rebellion,  and  has  bent  down  upon  his  humble  knees  and  asked 
the  forgiveness  of  the  Government,  and  to  be  restored  again  as 
a  citizen.  ■  Can  a  man  go  further  than  that  ?  He  has  been  in 
many  cases  pardoned  by  the  Executive.  He  stands  again  as  a 
citizen  of  the  country. 

"What  relation  do  we  desire  that  the  people  of  the  North 
shall  sustain  toward  these  people  of  the  South — one  of  harmony 
and  accord,  or  of  strife  and  ill  will?  Do  we  want  to  restore 
commerce  and  trade  with  them,  that  we  shall  prosper  thereby  as 
well  as  they,  or  do  we  wish  permanent  strife  and  division?  I 
want  this  to  be  a  Union  in  form,  under  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States,  and,  in  fact,  by  the  harmony  of  the  people  of 
the  North  and  of  the  South.  I  believe,  as  -General  Grant  says, 
that  this  bureau,  especially  with  the  enlarged  powers  that  we 
propose  to  confer  upon  it,  will  not  be  an  instrument  of  concord 
and  harmony,  but  will  be  one  of  discord  and  strife  in  that  sec- 
tion of  the  country.  It  can  not  do  good,  but,  in  my  judgment, 
will  do  much  harm." 


120  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Following  immediately  upon  the  close  of  the  above  argument, 
Mr.  Trumbull  thus  addressed  the  senate :  "  Mr.  President,  I  feel 
it  incumbent  on  me  to  reply  to  some  of  the  arguments  presented 
by  the  Senator  from  Indiana  against  this  bill.  Many  of  the 
positions  he  has  assumed  will  be  found,  upon  examination,  to 
have  no  foundation  in  fact.  He  has  argued  against  provisions- 
not  contained  in  the  bill,  and  he  has  argued  also  as  if  he  were 
entirely  forgetful  of  the  condition  of  the  country  and  of  the 
great  war  through  which  we  have  passed. 

"  Now,  sir,  what  was  the  object  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  and 
why  was  it  established?     It  was  established  to  look  after  a  large 
class  of  people  who,  as  the  results  of  the  war,  had  been  thrown 
upon  the  hands  of  the  Government,  and  must  have  perished  but 
for  its  fostering  care  and  protection.     Does  the  Senator  mean  to 
deny  the  power  of  this  Government  to  protect  people  under  such 
circumstances?     The  Senator  must  often  have  voted  for  appropri- 
ations to  protect  other  classes  of  people  under  like  circumstances. 
Whenever,   in  the  history  of  the   Government,  there  has  beer, 
thrown  upon  it  a  helpless  population,  which  must  starve  and  die 
but  for  its  care,  the  Government  has  never  failed  to  provide  for 
them.     At  this  very  session,  within  the  last  thirty  days,  both 
houses  of  Congress  have  voted  half  a  million  dollars  to  feed  and 
clothe  people  during  the  present  winter.    Who  were  they  ?    Many 
of  them  were  Indians  who  had  joined  the  rebellion,  and  had  slain 
loyal  people  of  the  country.     Yes,  sir,  we  appropriated  money  to 
feed  Indians  who  had  been  fighting  against  us.     We  did  not  hear 
the  Senator's  voice  in  opposition  to  that  appropriation.     What 
were  the  facts?     It  was  stated  by  our  Indian  agents  that  the  In- 
dian tribes  west  of  Arkansas,  a  part  of  whom  had  joined  the  rebel 
armies  and  some  the  Union  armies,  had  been  driven  from  their 
country;  that  their  property  had  been  destroyed;  and  now,  the 
conflict  of  arms  having  ceased,  they  had  nothing  to  live  upon  dur- 
ing the  winter ;  that  they  would  encroach  upon  the  white  settle- 
ments ;  that  unless  provision  was  made  for  them,  they  would  rob, 
plunder,  and  murder  the  inhabitants  nearest  them ;  and  Congress 
was  called  upon  to  appropriate  money  to  buy  them  food  and 
clothing,  and  we  did  it.    We  did  it  for  rebels  and  traitors.     Were 
we  not  bound  to  do  it  ? 

Now,  sir,  we  have  thrown  upon  us  four  million  people  who 
have  toiled  all  their  lives  for  others;  who,  unlike  the  Indians, 


TEE  FREEBMEN.  mi 

had  no  properly  at  the  beginning  of  the  rebellion;  who  were 
never  permitted  to  own  any  thing,  never  permitted  to  eat  the 
bread  their  own  hands  had  earned ;  many  of  whom  are  without 
support,  in  the  midst  of  a  prejudiced  and  hostile  population  who 
have  been  struggling  to  overthrow  the  Government.  These  four 
million  people,  made  free  by  the  acts  of  war  and  the  constitu- 
tional amendment,  have  been,  wherever  they  could,  loyal  and 
true  to  the  Union ;  and  the  Senator  seriously  asks,  What  author- 
ity have  we  to  appropriate  money  to  take  care  of  them  ?  What 
would  he  do»with  them?  Would  he  allow  them  to  starve  and 
die?  AYould  he  turn  them  over  to  the  mercy  of  the  men  who, 
through  their  whole  lives,  have  had  their  earnings,  to  be  en- 
slaved again?  It  is  not  the  first  time  that  money  has  been  ajjpro- 
priated  to  take  care  of  the  destitute  and  suffering  African.  For 
years  it  has  been  the  law  that  whenever  persons  of  African  de- 
scent were  brought  to  our  shores  with  the  intention  of  reducing 
them  to  slavery,  the  Government  should,  if  possible,  rescue  and 
restore  them  to  their  native  land ;  and  we  have  appropriated  hun- 
dreds of  thousands  of  dollars  for  this  object.  Can  any  body  deny 
the  right  to  do  it?  Sir,  humanity  as  well  as  the  constitutional 
obligation  to  suppress  the  slave  trade  required  it.  So  now  the 
people  relieved  by  our  act  from  the  control  of  masters  who  sup- 
plied their  wants  that  they  might  have  their  services,  have  a  right 
to  rely  upon  us  for  assistance  till  they  can  have  time  to  provide 
for  themselves. 

"  This  Freedmen's  Bureau  is  not  intended  as  a  permanent  in- 
stitution; it  is  only  designed  to  aid  these  helpless,  ignorant,  and 
unprotected  people  until  they  can  provide  for  and  take  care  of 
themselves.  The  authority  to  do  this,  so  far  as  legislative  sanc- 
tion can  give  it,  is  to  be  found  in  the  action  of  a  previous  Congress 
which  established  the  bureau ;  but,  if  it  were  a  new  question,  the 
authority  for  establishing  such  a  bureau,  in  my  judgment,  is  given 
by  the  Constitution  itself;  and  as  the  Senator's  whole  argument 
goes  upon  the  idea  of  peace,  and  that  all  the  consequences  of  the 
war  have  ceased,  I  shall  be  pardoned,  I  trust,  if  I  refer  to  those 
provisions  of  the  Constitution  which,  in  my  judgment,  authorize 
the  exercise  of  this  military  jurisdiction ;  for  this  bureau  is  a  part 
of  the  military  establishment  not  simply  during  the  conflict  of 
arms,  but  until  peace  shall  be  firmly  established  and  the  civil  tri- 


122  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

bunals  of  the  country  shall  be  restored  with  an  assurance  that  they 
may  peacefully  enforce  the  laws  without  opposition. 

"The  Constitution  of  the  United  States  declares  that  Congress 
shall  have  authority  'to  declare  war  and  make  rules  concerning 
captures  on  land  and  water/  Ho  raise  and  support  armies/  'to 
provide  and  maintain  a  navy/  'to  make  rules  for  the  govern- 
ment and  regulation  of  the  land  and  naval  forces/  'to  provide 
for  calling  forth  the  militia  to  execute  the  laws  of  the  Union, 
suppress  insurrection,  and  repel  invasion/  and  'to  make  all  laws 
which  shall  be  necessary  and  proper  for  carrying  into  execution 
the  foregoing  powers.'  It  also  declares  that  'the  citizens  of  each 
State  shall  be  entitled  to  all  the  privileges  and  immunities  of 
citizens  in  the  several  States/  and  that  'the  United  States  shall 
guarantee  to  every  State  in  the  Union  a  republican  form  of  gov- 
ernment.' Under  the  exercise  of  these  powers,  the  Government 
has  gone  through  a  four  years'  conflict.  It  has  succeeded  in  put- 
ting down  armed  resistance  to  its  authority.  But  did  the  mili- 
tary power  which  was  exercised  to  put  down  this  armed  resistance 
cease  the  moment  the  rebel  armies  were  dispersed?  Has  the 
Government  no  authority  to  bring  to  punishment  the  authors 
of  this  rebellion  after  the  conflict  of  arms  has  ceased  ?  no  author- 
ity to  hold  as  prisoners,  if  necessary,  all  who  have  been  captured 
with  arms  in  their  hands?  Can  it  be  that,  the  moment  the  rebel 
armies  are  dispersed,  the  military  authority  ceases,  and  they  are 
to  be  turned  loose  to  arm  and  organize  again  for  another  conflict 
against  the  Union  ?  Why,  sir,  it  would  not  be  more  preposterous 
on  the  part  of  the  traveler,  after  having,  at  the  peril  of  his  life, 
succeeded  in  disarming  a  highwayman  by  whom  he  was  assailed, 
to  immediately  turn  round  and  restore  to  the  robber  his  weapons 
with  which  to  make  a  new  assault. 

"  And  yet  this  is  what  some  gentlemen  would  have  this  nation 
do  with  the  worse  than  robbers  who  have  assailed  its  life.  They 
propose,  the  rebel  armies  being  overcome,  that  the  rebels  them- 
selves shall  be  instantly  clothed  with  all  the  authority  they  pos- 
sessed before  the  conflict,  and  that  the  inhabitants  of  States  who 
for  more  than  four  years  have  carried  on  an  organized  war  against 
the  Government  shall  at  once  be  invested  with  all  the  powers  they 
had  at  its  commencement  to  organize  and  begin  it  anew;  nay, 
more,  they  insist  that,  without  any  action  of  the  Government,  it 
is  the  right  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  rebellious  States,  on  laying 


THE  FREEDMEM.  123 

down  their  arms,  to  resume  their  former  positions  in  the  Union, 
with  all  the  rights  they  possessed  when  they  began  the  war.  If 
such  are  the  consequences  of  this  struggle,  it  is  the  first  conflict 
in  the  history  of  the  world,  between  either  individuals  or  nations, 
from  which  such  results  have  followed.  What  man,  after  being 
despoiled  of  much  of  his  substance,  his  children  slain,  his  own  life 
periled,  and  his  body  bleeding  from  many  wounds,  ever  restored 
the  authors  of  such  calamities,  when  within  his  power,  to  the 
rights  they  possessed  before  the  conflict  without  taking  some  se- 
curity for  the  future. 

"  Sir,  the  war  powers  of  the  Government  do  not  cease  with  the 
dispersion  of  the  rebel  armies;  they  are  to  be  continued  and 
exercised  until  the  civil  authority  of  the  Government  can  be  es- 
tablished firmly  and  upon  a  sure  foundation,  not  again  to  be  dis- 
turbed or  interfered  with.  And  such,  sir,  is  the  understanding 
of  the  Government.  None  of  the  departments  of  the  Govern- 
ment understand  that  its  military  authority  has  ceased  to  operate 
over  the  rel  ellious  States.  It  is  but  a  short  time  since  the  Pres- 
ident of  the  United  States  issued  a  proclamation  restoring  the 
privilege  of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  in  the  loyal  States ;  but 
did  he  restore  it  in  the  rebellious  States'?  Certainly  not.  What 
authority  has  he  to  suspend  the  privilege  of  that  writ  anywhere, 
except  in  pursuance  of  the  constitutional  provision  allowing  the 
writ  to  be  suspended  '  when  in  cases  of  rebellion  or  invasion  the 
public  safety  may  require  it*?'  Then  the  President  understands 
that  the  public  safety  in  the  insurrectionary  States  still  requires 
its  suspension. 

"The  Attorney-General,  when  asked,  a  few. days  ago,  why  Jef- 
ferson Davis  was  not  put  upon  trial,  told  you  that,  'though  act- 
ive hostilities  have  ceased,  a  state  of  war  still  exists  over  the 
territory  in  rebellion/  so  that  it  could  not  be  properly  done. 
General  Grant,  in  an  order  issued  within  a  few  days — which  I 
commend  to  the  especial  consideration  of  the  Senator  from  Indi- 
ana, for  it  contains  many  of  the  provisions  of  the  bill  under 
consideration — an  order  issued  with  the  approbation  of  the  Ex- 
ecutive, for  such  an  order,  I  apprehend,  could  not  have  been 
issued  without  his  approbation — directs  'military  division  and 
department  commanders,  whose  commands  embrace  or  are  com- 
posed of  any  of  the  late  rebellious  States,  and  who  have  not 
already  done  so,  will  at  once  issue  and  enforce  orders  protecting 


124  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

from  prosecution  or  suits  in  the  State,  or  municipal  courts  of 
such  State,  all  officers  and  soldiers  of  the  armies  of  the  United 
States,  and  all  persons  thereto  attached,  or  in  anywise  thereto 
belonging,  subject  to  military  authority,  charged  with  offenses 
for  acts  clone  in  their  military  capacity,  or  pursuant  to  orders 
from  proper  military  authority;  and  to  protect  from  suit  or 
prosecution  all  loyal  citizens  or  persons  charged  with  offenses 
done  against  the  rebel  forces,  directly  or  indirectly,  during  the 
existence  of  the  rebellion;  and  all  persons,  their  agents  and  em- 
ployes, charged  with  the  occupancy  of  abandoned  lands  or  plan- 
tations, or  the  possession  or  custody  of  any  kind  of  property 
whatever,  who  occupied,  used,  possessed,  or  controlled  the  same, 
pursuant  to  the  order  of  the  President,  or  any  of  the  civil  or 
military  departments  of  the  Government,  and  to  protect  them 
from  any  penalties  or  damages  that  may  have  been  or  may  be 
pronounced  or  adjudged  in  said  courts  in  any  of  such  cases ;  and 
also  protecting  colored  persons  from  prosecutions,  in  any  of  said 
States,  charged  with  offenses  for  which  white  persons  are  not 
prosecuted  or  punished  in  the  same  manner  and  degree.5" 

Mr.  Saulsbury  having  asked  whether  the  Senator  believed  that 
General  Grant  or  the  President  had  any  constitutional  authority 
to  make  such  an  order  as  that,  Mr.  Trumbull  replied :  "  I  am 
very  glad  the  Senator  from  Delaware  has  asked  the  question.  I 
answer,  he  had  most  ample  and  complete  authority.  I  indorse 
the  order  and  every  word  of  it.  It  would  be  monstrous  if  the 
officers  and  soldiers  of  the  army  and  loyal  citizens  were  to  be 
subjected  to  suits  and  prosecutions  for  acts  done  in  saving  the 
republic,  and  that,  too,  at  the  hands  of  the  very  men  who  sought 
its  destruction.  Why,  had  not  the  Lieutenant-General  author- 
ity to  issue  the  order?  Have  not  the  civil  tribunals  in  al] 
the  region  of  country  to  which  order  applies  been  expelled  by 
armed  rebels  and  traitors?  Has  not  the  power  of  the  Govern- 
ment been  overthrown  there?  Is  it  yet  reestablished?  Some 
steps  have  been  taken  toward  reestablishing  it  under  the  author- 
ity of  the  military,  and  in  no  other  way.  If  any  of  the  State 
governments  recently  set  up  in  the  rebellious  States  were  to  un- 
dertake to  embarrass  military  operations,  I  have  no  doubt  they 
would  at  once  be  set  aside  by  order  of  the  Lieutenant-General, 
in  pursuance  of  directions  from  the  Executive.  These  govern- 
ments which  have  been  set  up  act  by  permission  of  the  mili- 


THE  FBEEBMEK.  125 

tary.  They  are  made  use  of,  to  some  extent,  to  preserve  peace 
and  order  and  enforce  civil  rights  between  parties;  and,  so  far 
as  they  act  in  harmony  with  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the 
United  States  and  the  orders  of  the  military  commanders,  they 
are  permitted  to  exercise  authority;  but  until  those  States  shall 
be  restored  in  all  their  constitutional  relations  to  the  Union, 
they  ought  not  to  be  permitted  to  exercise  authority  in  any  other 
way. 

"  I  desire  the  Senator  from  Indiana  to  understand  that  it  is  un- 
der this  war  power  that  the  authority  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau 
is  to  be  exercised.  I  do  not  claim  that  its  officers  can  try  persons 
for  offenses  without  juries  in  States  where  the  civil  tribunals  have 
not  been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion.  The  Senator  from  Indiana 
argues  against  this  bill  as  if  it  was  applicable  to  that  State.  Some 
of  its  provisions  are,  but  most  of  them  are  not,  unless^the  State 
of  Indiana  has  been  in  rebellion  against  the  Government;  and  I 
know  too  many  of  the  brave  men  who  have  gone  from  that  State 
to  mantain  the  integrity  of  the  Union  and  put  down  the  rebellion 
to  cast  any  such  imputation  upon  her.  She  is  a  loyal  and  a  patri- 
otic State ;  her  civil  government  has  never  been  usurped  or  over- 
thrown by  trators,  and  the  provisions  of  the  seventh  and  eighth 
sections  of  the  bill  to  which  the  Senator  alludes  can  not,  by  their 
very  terms,  have  any  application  to  the  State  of  Indiana.  Let  me 
read  the  concluding  sentence  of  the  eighth  section : 

"  'The  jurisdiction  conferred  by  this  section  on  the  officers  and  agents  of 
this  bureau  to  cease  and  determine  whenever  the  discrimination  on  account 
of  which  it  is  conferred  ceases,  and  in  no  event  to  be  exercised  in  any  State 
in  which  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings  has  not  been  inter- 
rupted by  the  rebellion,  nor  in  any  such  State  after  said  State  shall  have 
been  fully  restored  in  all  its  constitutional  relations  to  the  United  States,  and 
the  courts  of  the  State  and  of  the  United  States  within  the  same  are  not  dis- 
turbed or  stopped  in  the  peaceable  course  of  justice.' 

"  Will  the  Senator  from  Indiana  admit  for  a  moment  that  the 
courts  in  his  State  are  now  disturbed  or  stopped  in  the  peaceable 
course  of  justice  ?  If  they  were  ever  so  disturbed,  they  are  not 
now.  Will  the  Senator  admit  that  the  State  of  Indiana  does  not 
have  and  exercise  all  its  constitutional  rights  as  one  of  the  States 
of  this  Union?  The  judicial  authority  conferred  by  this  bill  ap- 
plies to  no  State,  not  even  to  South  Carolina,  after  it  shall  have 
been  restored  in  all  its  constitutional  rights. 


126  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"There  is  no  provision  in  the  bill  for  the  exercise  of  judicial 
authority  except  in  the  eighth  section.  Rights  are  declared  in 
the  seventh,  but  the  mode  of  protecting  them  is  provided  in  the 
eighth  section,  and  the  eighth  section  then  declares  explicitly  that 
the  jurisdiction  that  is  conferred  shall  be  exercised  only  in  States 
which  do  not  possess  full  constitutional  rights  as  parts  of  the 
Union.  Indiana  has  at  all  times  had  all  the  constitutional  rights 
pertaining  to  any  State,  has  them  now,  and  therefore  the  officers 
and  agents  of  this  bureau  can  take  no  jurisdiction  of  any  case  in 
the  State  of  Indiana.  It  will  be  another  question,  which  I  will 
answer,  and  may  as  well  answer  now,  perhaps,  as  to  what  is  meant 
by  '  military  protection.' 

•  "  The  second  section  declares  that  '  the  President  of  the  United 
States,  through  the  War  Department  and  the  commissioner,  shall 
extend  railitary  jurisdiction  and  protection  over  all  employes, 
agents,  and  officers  of  this  bureau.'  He  wants  to  know  the  effect 
of  that  in  Indiana.  This  bureau  is  a  part  of  the  military  estab- 
lishment. The  effect  of  that  in  Indiana  is  precisely  the  same  as 
in  every  other  State,  and  under  it  the  officers  and  agents  of  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau  will  occivpy  the  same  position  as  do  the  offi- 
cers and  soldiers  of  the  United  States  Army.  What  is  that? 
While  they  are  subject  to  the  Rules  and  Articles  of  War,  if  they 
chance  to  be  in  Indiana  and  violate  her  laws,  they  are  held  amen- 
able the  same  as  any  other  person.  The  officer  or  soldier  in  the 
State  of  Indiana  who  commits  a  murder  or  other  offense  upon  a 
citizen  of  Indiana,  is  liable  to  be  indicted,  tried,  and  punished, 
just  as  if  he  were  a  civilian.  When  the  sheriff  goes  wTith  the 
process  to  arrest  the  soldier  or  officer  who  has  committed  the  of- 
fense, the  military  authorities  surrender  him  up  to  be  tried  and 
punished  according  to  the  laws  of  the  State.  It  has  always  been 
done,  unless  in  time  of  war  when  the  courts  were  interrupted. 
The  jurisdiction  and  ' protection'  that  is  extended  over  these  offi- 
cers and  agents  is  for  the  purpose  of  making  them  subject  to  the 
Rules  and  Articles  of  War.  It  is  necessary  for  this  reason :  in 
the  rebellious  States  civil  authority  is  not  yet  fully  restored. 
There  would  be  no  other  way  of  punishing  them,  of  holding  them 
to  accountability,  of  governing  and  controlling  them,  in  many 
portions  of  the  country ;  and  it  is  because  of  the  condition  of  the 
rebellious  States,  and  their  still  being  under  military  authority, 


r  THE  FREEDMEN.  127 

that  it  is  necessary  to  put  these  officers  and  agents  of  the  Freed- 
men's Bureau  under  the  control  of  the  military  power. 

"The  Senator  says  the  original  law  only  embraced  within  its 
provisions  the  refugees  in  the  rebellious  States;  and  now  this'bill 
is  extended  to  all  the  States,  and  he  wants  to  know  the  reason.  I 
will  tell  him.  When  the  original  bill  was  passed,  slavery  existed 
in  Tennessee,  Kentucky,  Delaware,  and  in  various  other  States. 
Since  that  time,  by  the  constitutional  amendment,  it  has  been 
every- where  abolished." 

.Mr.  Saulsbury,  aroused  by  the  mention  of  his  own  State,  inter- 
rupted the  speaker:  "I  say,  as  one  of  the  representatives  of  Dela- 
ware on  this  floor,  that  she  had  the  proud  and  noble  character  of 
being  the  first  to  enter  the  Federal  Union  under  a  Constitution 
formed  by  equals.  She  has  been  the  very  lasl  to  obey  a  mandate, 
legislative  or  executive,  for  abo^shing  Blavery.  She  has  been  the 
last  slaveholding  Stale,  thank  God,  in  America,  and  I  am  one  of 
the  last  slaveholders  in  Ajnerica." 

Mr.  Trumbull  continued:  "  Well,  Mr.  President,  I  do  not  see 
particularly  whal  the  declaration  of  the  Senator  from  Delaware 
has  to  do  with  the  question  I  am  discussing.  His  State  may 
have  been  the  last  to  become  free,  but  I  presume  that  the  State 
of  Delaware,  old  as  she  is,  being  the  first  to  adopt  the  Constitu- 
tion, and  noble  as  she  is,  will  submit  to  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States,  which  declares  that  there  shall  be  no  slavery  within 
its  jurisdiction."     [Applause  in  the  galleries.] 

"It  is  necessary,  Mr.  President,  to  extend  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau  beyond  the  rebel  States  in  order  to  take  in  the  State  of 
Delaware,  [laughter,]  the  loyal  State  of  Delaware,  I  am  happy 
to  say,  which  did  not  engage  in  this  wicked  rebellion;  and  it  is 
-^ary  to  protect  the  freedmen  in  that  State  as  well  as  else- 
where; and  that  is  the  reason  for  extending  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau  beyond  the  limits  of  the  rebellious  States. 

"Now,  the  Senator  from  Indiana  says  it  extends  all  over  the 
United  States.  Well,  by  its  terms  it  does,  though  practically  it 
can  have  little  if  any  operation  outside  of  the  late  slaveholding 
States.  If  freedmen  should  congregate  in  large  numbers  at  Cairo, 
Illinois,  or  at  Evansville,  Indiana,  and  become  a  charge  upon  the 
people  of  those  States,  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  would  have  a  right 
to  extend  its  jurisdiction  over  them,  provide  for  their  wants,  secure 
for  them  employment,  and  place  them  in  situations  where  they 


128  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

could  provide  for  themselves ;  and  would  the  State  of  Illinois  or 
the  State  of  Indiana  object  to  that  ?  The  provisions  of  the  bill 
which  would  interfere  with  the  laws  of  Indiana  can  have  no  oper- 
ation there. 

"Again,  the  Senator  objects  very  much  to  the  expense  of  this 
bureau.  Why,  sir,  as  I  have  once  or  twice  before  said,  it  is  a 
part  of  the  military  establishment.  I  believe  nearly  all  its  officers 
at  the  present  time  are  military  officers,  and  by  the  provisions  of 
the  pending  bill  they  are  to  receive  no  additional  compensation 
when  performing  duties  in  the  Freedmen's  Bureau.  The  bill 
declares  that  the  '  bureau  may,  in  the  discretion  of  the  President, 
be  placed  under  a  commissioner  and  assistant  commissioners,  to 
be  detailed  from  the  army,  in  which  event  each  officer  so  assigned 
to  duty  shall  serve  without  increase  of  pay  or  allowances.' 

"I  shall  necessarily,  Mr.  President,  in  following  the  Senator 
from  Indiana,  speak  somewhat  in  a  desultory  manner;  but  I 
prefer  to  do  so  because  I  would  rather  meet  the  objections  made 
directly  than  by  any  general  speech.  I  will,  therefore,  take  up 
his  next  objection,  which  is  to  the  fifth  section  of  the  bill.  That 
section  proposes  to  confirm  for  three  years  the  possessory  titles 
granted  by  General  Sherman.  The  Senator  from  Indiana  admits 
that  General  Sherman  had  authority,  when  at  the  head  of  the 
army  at  Savannah,  and  these  people  were  flocking  around  him 
and  dependent  upon  him  for  support,  to  put  them  upon  the  aban- 
doned lands;  but  he  says  that  authority  to  put  them  there  and 
maintain  them  there  ceased  with  peace.  Well,  sir,  a  sufficient 
answer  to  that  would  be  that  peace  has  not  yet  come;  the  effects 
of  war  are  not  yet  ended ;  the  people  of  the  States  of  South  Caro- 
lina, Georgia,  and  Florida,  where  these  lands  are  situated,  are  yet 
subject  to  military  control.  But  I  deny  that  if  peace  had  come  the 
authority  of  the  Government  to  protect  these  people  in  their  posses- 
sions would  cease  the  moment  it  was  declared.  What  are  the  facts  ? 
The  owners  of  these  plantations  had  abandoned  them  and  entered 
the  rebel  army.  They  were  contending  against  the  army  which 
General  Sherman  then  commanded.  Numerous  colored  people 
had  flocked  around  General  Sherman's  army.  It  was  necessary 
that  he  should  supply  them  to  save  them  from  starvation.  His 
commissariat  was  short.  Here  was  this  abandoned  country,  owned 
by  men  arrayed  in  arms  against  the  Government.  He,  it  is 
admitted,  had  authority  to  put  these  followers  of  his  army  upon 


THE  FREEDMEJf.  129 

these  lands,  and  authorize  them  to  go  to  work  and  gain  a  subsist- 
ence if  they  could.  They  went  on  the  lands  to  the  number  of 
forty  or  fifty  thousand,  commenced  work,  have  made  improve- 
ments ;  and  now  will  the  Senator  from  Indiana  tell  me  that  upon 
any  principle  of  justice,  humanity,  or  law,  if  peace  had  come 
when  these  laborers  had  a  crop  half  gathered,  the  Government 
of  the  United  States,  having  rightfully  placed  them  in  posses- 
sion, and  pledged  its  faith  to  protect  them  there  for  an  uncertain 
period,  could  immediately  have  turned  them  off  and  put  in  pos- 
session those  traitor  owners  who  had  abandoned  their  homes  to 
fight  against  the  Government? 

"The  Government  having  placed  these  people  rightfully  upon 
these  lands,  and  they  having  expended  their  labor  upon  them, 
they  had  a  right  to  be  protected  in  their  possessions,  for  some 
length  of  time  after  peace,  on  the  principle  of  equity.  That  is  all 
we  propose  to  do  by  this  bill.  The  committee  thought  it  would 
not  be  more  than  a  reasonable  protection  to  allow  them  to  remain 
for  three  years,  they  having  been  put  upon  these  lands  destitute, 
without  any  implements  of  husbandry,  without  cattle,  horses,  or 
any  thing  else  with  which  to  cultivate  the  land,  and  having,  up 
to  the  present  time,  been  able  to  raise  very  little  at  the  expense 
of  great  labor.  Perhaps  the  Senator  thinks  they  ought  not  to 
remain  so  long.  I  will  not  dispute  whether  they  shall  go  off  at 
the  end  of  one  year  or  two  years.  The  committee  propose  two 
years  more.  The  order  was  dated  ;n  January,  1865,  and  we  pro- 
pose three  years  from  that  time,  which  will  expire  in  January, 
1868,  or  about  two  years  from  this  time. 

"  On  account  of  that  provision  of  the  bill,  the  Senator  asks  me 
the  question  whether  the  Government  of  the  United  States  has 
the  right,  in  a  time  of  peace,  to  take  property  from  one  man  and 
give  it  to  another.  I  say  no.  Of  course  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  has  no  authority,  in  a  time  of  peace,  by  a  legis- 
lative act,  to  say  that  the  farm  of  the  Senator  from  Indiana  shall 
be  given  to  the  Senator  from  Ohio;  I  contend  for  no  such  prin- 
ciple. But  following  that  up,  the  Senator  wants  to  know  by 
what  authority  you  buy  land  or  provide  school-houses  for  these 
refugees.  Have  we  not  been  providing  school-houses  for  years  ? 
Is  there  a  session  of  Congress  when  acts  are  not  passed  giving 
away  public  lands  for  the  benefit  of  schools  ?  But  that  does  not 
come  out  of  the  Treasury,  the  Senator  from  Indiana  will  prob- 
9 


130  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

ably  answer.  But  how  did  you  get  the  land  to  give  away  ?  Did 
you  not  buy  it  of  the  Indians  ?  Are  you  not  appropriating,  every 
session  of  Congress,  money  by  the  million  to  extinguish  the  Indian 
title— money  collected  off  his  constituents  and  mine  by  taxation? 
We  buy  the  land  and  then  we  give  the  land  away  for  schools. 
Will  the  Senator  tell  me  how  that  differs  from  giving  the  money? 
Does  it  make  any  difference  whether  we  buy  the  land  from  the 
Indians  and  give  it  for  the  benefit  of  schools,  or  whether  we  buy 
it  from  some  rebel  and  give— no,  sir,  use— it  for  the  benefit  of 
schools,  with  a  view  ultimately  of  selling  it  for  at  least  its  cost? 
I  believe  I  would  rather  buy  from  the  Indian ;  but  still,  if  the 
traitor  is  to  be  permitted  to  have  a  title,  we  will  buy  it  from  him 
if  we  can  purchase  cheaper. 

"  Sir,  it  is  a  matter  of  economy  to  do  this.  The  cheapest  way 
by  which  you  can  save  this  race  from  starvation  and  destruction 
is  to  educate  them.  They  will  then  soon  become  self-sustaining. 
The  report  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  shows  that  to-day  more 
than  seventy  thousand  black  children  are  being  taught  in  the 
schools  which  have  been  established  in  the  South.  We  shall  not 
long  have  to  support  any  of  these  blacks  out  of  the  public  Treas- 
ury if  we  educate  and  furnish  them  land  upon  which  they  can 
make  a  living  for  themselves.  This  is  a  very  different  thing 
from  taking  the  land  of  A  and  giving  it  to  B  by  an  act  of  Con- 
gress. 

"But  the  Senator  is  most  alarmed  at  those  sections  of  this  bill 
which  confer  judicial  authority  upon  the  officers  and  agents  of 
the  Freedmen's  Bureau.  He  says  if  this  authority  can  be  exer- 
cised there  is  an  end  to  all  the  reserved  rights  of  the  States,  and 
this  Government  may  do  any  thing.  Kot  at  all,  sir.  The  author- 
ity, as  I  have  already  shown,  to  be  exercised  under  the  seventh 
and  eighth  sections,  is  a  military  authority,  to  be  exerted  only  in 
regions  of  country  where  the  civil  tribunals  are  overthrown,  and 
not  there  after  they  are  restored.  It  is  the  same  authority  that 
we  have  been  exercising  all  the  time  in  the  rebellious  States ;  it 
is  the  same  authority  by  virtue  of  which  General  Grant  issued 
the  order  which  I  have  just  read.  Here  is  a  perfect  and  complete 
answer  to  the  objection  that  is  made  to  the  seventh  and  eighth 
sections. 

"  But,  says  the  Senator  from  Indiana,  we  have  laws  in  Indiana 
prohibiting  black  people  from  marrying  whites,  and  are  you  going 


THE  FREEDMEjY.  ]ji 

to  disregard  these  laws?  Am  out  laws  enacted  for  the  purpose 
of  preventing  amalgamation  to  be  disregarded,  and  is  a  man  to 
be  punished  because  he  undertakes  to  enforce  them?  I  beg  the 
tor  from  Endiana  to  rlad  the  lull.  One  of  its  objects  Is  to 
secure  the  same  ciyi]  rights  and  subject  to  the  same  punishments 
p  sons  of  all  races  and  colors.  How  does  this  interfere  with  the 
law  of  Indiana  preventing  marriages  between  whites  and  black,? 
Al"  n'"  I"',,'  ^es  treated  alike  by  the  law  of  Indiana?  Does 
do1  the  law  make  it  just  as  much  a  crime  for  a  white  man  to 
marry  a  black  woman  as  for  a  black  woman  to  marry  a  white 
man,  and  saf     I  presume  there  is  no  discrimination  in 

this  respect,  and  therefore  your  law  forbidding  marriages  between 
whites  and  blacks  operates  alike  on  both  races.  This  bill  does 
""'  interfere  with  it.  If  the  .,,.,,,,  ;,  denied  ,]„.  rii;ht  to  marry 
a  white  person,  the  white  person  is  equally  denied  the  right  to 
)llan'.v  ln"'  "'•-"'•  I  see  no  discrimination  againsi  either  in  this 
resped  that  does  not  apply  to  both.  .Make  the  penalty  the  same 
""  :'n  ,!:;  •"  -  of  people  for  the  same  offense,  and  then  no  one 
complain. 

"  My  object  in  bringing  forward  these  bills  was  to  bring  to  the 

ltion   "'"  '  aething  thai   was  practical,  something 

"h""  wllir!'  '  hoped  we  all  could  agree.     I  havesaid  nothing  in 

bills  which  are  pending, and  which  have  been  recommended 

by  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary— and  I  speak  of  both  of  them 
because  they  have  both  been  alluded  to  in  this  discussion— about 
the  political  rights  of  the  negro.  On  that  subject  it  is  known 
that  there  are  differences  of  opinion,  but  I  trust  there  are  no 
differences  of  opinion  among  the  friends  of  the  constitutional 
amendment,  among  those  who  are  for  real  freedom  to  the  black 
man,  as  to  his  being  entitled  to  equality  in  civil  rights.  If  that 
is  not  going  as  far  as  some  gentlemen  would  desire,  I  say  to  them 
it  is  a  step  in  the  right  direction.  Let  us  go  that  far,  and,  going 
that  far,  we  have  the  cooperation  of  the  Executive  Department; 
for  the  President  has  told  us  'Good  faith  requires  the  security 
of  the  freedmen  in  their  liberty  and  their  property,  their  right  to 
labor,  and  their  right  to  claim  the  just  return  of  their  labor.' 

"Such,  sir,  is  the  language  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States  in  his  annual  message;  and  who  in  this  chamber  that  is 
in  favor  of  the  freedom  of  the  slave  is  not  in  favor  of  giving  him 
equal  and  exact  justice  before  the  law?    Sir,  we  can  go  along 


13%  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

hand  in  hand  together  to  the  consummation  of  this  great  object 
of  securing  to  every  human  being  within  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
republic  equal  rights  before  the  law, -and  I  preferred  to  seek 
for  points  of  agreement  between  all  tie  departments  of  Govern- 
ment, rather  than  to  hunt  for  points  of  divergence.  I  have  not 
said  any  thing  in  my  remarks  about  reconstruction.  I  have  not 
attempted  to  discuss  the  question  whether  these  States  are  in  the 
Union  or  out  of  the  Union,  and  so  much  has  been  said  upon  that 
subject  that  I  am  almost  ready  to  exclaim  with  one  of  old,  '  I 
know  not  whether  they  are  in  the  body  or  out  of  the  body ;  God 
knoweth.'  It  is  enough  for  me  to  know  that  the  State  organiza- 
tions in  several  States  of  the  Union  have  been  usurped  and  over- 
thrown, and  that  up  to  the  present  time  no  State  organization- 
has  been  inaugurated  in  either  of  them  which  the  various  depart- 
ments of  Government,  or  any  department  of  the  Government,  has 
recognized  as  placing  the  States  in  full  possession  of  all  the  con- 
stitutional rights  pertaining  to  States  in  full  communion  with  the 
Union. 

"  The  Executive  has  not  recognized  any  one,  for  he  still  con- 
tinues to  exercise  military  jurisdiction  and  to  suspend  the  privilege 
of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  in  all  of  them.     Congress  has  not 
recognized  any  of  them,  as  we  all  know ;  and  until  Congress  and 
the  Executive  do  recognize  them,  let  us  make  use  of  the  Freed- 
men's  Bureau,  already  established,  to  protect  the  colored  race  in 
their  rights;  and  when  these  States  shall  be  admitted,  and  the 
authority  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  as  a  court  shall  cease  and  de- 
termine, as  it  must  when  civil  authority  is  fully  restored,  let  us 
provide,  then,  by  other  laws,  for  protecting  all  people  in  their  equal 
civil  rights  before  the  law.     If  we  can  pass  such  measures,  they 
receive  executive  sanction,  and  it  shall  be  understood  that  it  is  the 
policy  of  the  Government  that  the  rights  of  the  colored  men  are 
to  be  protected  by  the  States  if  they  will,  but  by  the  Federal  Gov- 
ernment if  they  will  not ;  that  at  all  hazards,  and  under  all  cir- 
cumstances, there  shall  be  impartiality  among  all  classes  in  civil 
rights  throughout  the  land.     If  we  can  do  this,  much  of  the  ap- 
prehension and  anxiety  now  existing  in  the  loyal  States  will  be 
allayed,  and  a  great  obstacle  to  an  early  restoration  of  the  insur- 
gent States  to  their  constitutional  relations  in  the  Union  will  be 
removed. 

"  If  the  people  in  the  rebellious  States  can  be  made  to  under- 


THE  FREEDMEN.  133 

stand  that  it  is  the  fixed  and  determined  policy  of  the  Government 
that  the  colored  people  shall  be  protected  in  their  civil  rights,  they 
themselves  will  adopt  the  necessary  measures  to  protect  them;  and 
that  will  dispense  with  the  Frcedmen's  Bureau  and  all  other  Fed- 
eral legislation  for  their  protection.  The  design  of  these  bills  is 
not,  aa  the  Senator  from  Indiana  would  have  us  believe,  to  consol- 
idate all  power  in  the  Federal  Government,  or  to  interfere  with 
the  domestic  regulations  of  any  of  the  States,  except  so  far  as  to 
•  any  out  a  constitutional  provision  which  is  the  supreme  law  of 
the  land.  If  the  States  will  not  do  it,  then  it  is  incumbent  on 
(  'undress  to  do  it.  But  if  the  States  will  do  it,  then  the  Frced- 
men's  Bureau  will  be  removed,  and  the  authority  proposed  to  be 
given  by  the  other  bill  will  have  no  operation. 

"Sir,  I  trust  there  may  be  no  oeeasion  long  to  exercise  the 
authority  conferred  by  this  bill.  I  hope  that  the  people  of  the 
rebellious  States  themselves  will  conform  to  the  existing  condition 
of  things.  I  do  not  expect  them  to  change  all  their  opinions  and 
prejudices.  J  do  uol  expect  them  to  rejoice  that  they  have  been 
discomfited.  But  they  acknowledge  that  the  war  is  over;  they 
agree  that  they  can  no  longer  contend  in  arms  against  the  Gov- 
ernment;  they  say  they  are  willing  to  submit  to  its  authority; 
they  say  in  their  State  conventions  that  slavery  shall  no  more 
exist  among  them.  With  the  abolition  of  slavery  should  go  all 
the  badges  of  servitude  which  have  been  enacted  for  its  mainten- 
ance and  support.  Let  them  all  be  abolished.  Let  the  peoj)le 
of  the  rebellious  States  now  be  as  zealous  and  as  active  in  the 
passage  of  laws  and  the  inauguration  of  measures  to  elevate,  de- 
velop, and  improve  the  negro  as  they  have  hitherto  been  to  en- 
slave and  degrade  him.  Let  them  do  justice  and  deal  fairly  with 
loyal  Union  men  in  their  midst,  and  henceforth  be  themselves 
loyal,  and  this  Congress  will  not  have  adjourned  till  the  States 
whose  inhabitants  have  been  engaged  in  the  rebellion  will  be  re- 
stored to  their  former  position  in  the  Union,  and  we  shall  all  be 
moving  on  in  harmony  together." 

On  the  day  following  the  discussion  above  given,  Mr.  Cowan 
moved  to  amend  the  first  section  of  the  bill  so  that  its  operation 
would  be  limited  to  such  States  "  as  have  lately  been  in  rebellion." 
In  supporting  his  amendment,  Mr.  Cowan  remarked  :  "  I  have  no 
idea  of  having  this  system  extended  over  Pennsylvania.  I  think 
that  as  to  the  freedmen  who  make  their  appearance  there,  she  will 


IS 4  TEE  TEIETY-KIKTE  CONGRESS. 

be  able  to  take  care  of  them  and  provide  as  well  for  them  as  any 
bureau  which  can  be  created  here.  I  wish  to  confine  the  opera- 
tion of  this  institution  to  the  States  which  have  been  lately  in 
rebellion." 

To  this  Mr.  Trumbull  replied :  "  The  Senator  from  Pennsyl- 
vania will  see  that  the  effect  of  that  would  be  to  exclude  from 
the  operation  of  the  bureau  the  State  of  Kentucky  and  the  State 
of  Delaware,  where  the  slaves  have  been  emancipated  by  the  con- 
stitutional amendment.  The  operation  of  the  bureau  will  un- 
doubtedly be  chiefly  confined  to  the  States  where  slavery  existed ; 
but  it  is  a  fact  which  may  not  be  known  to  the  Senator  from  Penn- 
sylvania, that  during  this  war  large  numbers  of  slaves  have  fled 
to  the  Northern  States  bordering  on  the  slaveholding  territory. 

"It  is  not  supposed  that  the  bill  will  have  any  effect  in  the 
State  of  Pennsylvania  or  in  the  State  of  Illinois,  unless  it  might, 
perhaps,  be  at  Cairo,  where  there  has  been  a  large  number  of  these 
refugees  congregated,  without  any  means  of  support;  they  fol- 
lowed the  army  there  at  different  times. 

"The  provision  of  the  bill  in  regard  to  holding  courts,  and 
some  other  provisions,  are  confined  entirely  to  the  rebellious  States, 
and  will  have  no  operation  in  any  State  which  was  not  in  insur- 
rection against  this  Government.  I  make  this  explanation  to  the 
Senator  from  Pennsylvania,  and  I  think  he  will  see  the  necessity ' 
of  the  bureau  going  into  Kentucky  and  some  of  the  other  States, 
as  much  as  into  any  of  the  Southern  rebellious  States." 

Mr.  Guthrie  was  opposed  to  the  extension  of  the  bill  to  his 
State.  He  said:  "I  should  like  to  know  the  peculiar  reasons 
why  this  bill  is  to  be  extended  to  the  State  of  Kentucky.  She  has 
never  been  in  rebellion.  Though  she  has  been  overrun  by  rebel 
armies,  and  her  fields  laid  waste,  she  has  always  had  her  full  quota 
in  the  Union  armies,  and  the  blood  of  her  sons  has  marked  the 
fields  whereon  they  have  fought.  Kentucky  does  not  want  and 
does  not  ask  this  relief.  The  freedmen  in  Kentucky  are  a  part 
of  our  population ;  and  where  the  old,  and  lame,  and  halt,  and 
blind,  and  infants  require  care  and  attention  they  obtain  it  from 
the  counties.  Our  whole  organization  for  the  support  of  the 
poor,  through  the  agencies  of  the  magistrates  in  the  several  coun- 
ties, is  complete." 

On  the  other  hand,  Mr.  Creswell,  of  Maryland,  saw  a  necessity 
for  the  operation  of  the  bill  in  his  State.     He  said :  "  I  have  re- 


y^^-^r, 


THE  FREEDMEN.  135 

ceived,  -within  the  last  two  or  three  weeks,  letters  from  gentlemen 
of  the  highest  respectability  in  my  State,  asserting  that  combina- 
tions of  returned  rebel  soldiers  have  been  formed  for  the  express 
purpose  of  persecuting,  beating  most  cruelly,  and  in  some  cases 
actually  murdering  the  returned  colored  soldiers  of  the  republic. 
In  certain  sections  of  my  State,  the  civil  law  affords  no  remedy 
at  all.  It  is  impossible  there  to  enforce  against  these  people  so 
violating  the  law  the  penalties  which  the  law  has  prescribed  for 
these  offenses.  It  is,  therefore,  necessary,  in  my  "opinion,  that 
this  bill  shall  extend  over  the  State  of  Maryland." 

Mr.  Cowan,  in  the  course  of  a  speech  on  the  bill,  said :  "  Thank 
God !  we  are  now  rid  of  slavery ;  that  is  now  gone."  He  also 
said :  "  Let  the  friends  of  the  negro,  and  I  am  one,  be  satisfied 
to  treat  him  as  he  is  treated  in  Pennsylvania;  as  he  is  treated  in 
Ohio;  as  he  is  treated  everv-wherc  where  people  have  maintained 
their  sanity  upon  the  question." 

Mr.  Wilson  said :  "  The  Senator  from  Pennsylvania  tells  us 
that  he  is  the  friend  of  the  negro.  What,  sir,  he  the  friend  of 
the  negro!  Why,  sir,  there  has  hardly  been  a  proposition  before 
the  Senate  of  the  United  States  for  the  last  five  years,  looking  to 
the  emancipation  of  the  negro  and  the  protection  of  his  rights, 
that  the  Senator  from  Pennsylvania  has  not  sturdily  opposed. 
He  has  hardly  ever  uttered  a  word  upon  this  floor  the  tendency 
of  which  was  not  to  degrade  and  to  belittle  a  weak  and  struggling 
race.  He  comes  here  to-day  and  thanks  God  that  they  are  free, 
when  his  vote  and  his  voice  for  five  years,  with  hardly  an  excep- 
tion, have  been  against  making  them  free.  He  thanks  God,  sir, 
that  your  work  and  mine,  our  work  which  has  saved  a  country 
and  emancipated  a  race,  is  secured ;  while  from  the  word  '  go,'  to 
this  time,  he  has  made  himself  the  champion  of '  how  not  to  do 
it.'  If  there  be  a  man  on  the  floor  of  the  American  Senate  who 
has  tortured  the  Constitution  of  the  country  to  find  powers  to 
arrest  the  voice  of  this  nation  which  was  endeavoring  to  make 
a  race  free,  the  Senator  from  Pennsylvania  is  the  man ;  and  now 
he  comes  here  and  thanks  God  that  a  work  which  he  has  done 
his  best  to  arrest,  and  which  we  have  carried,  is  accomplished.  1 
tell  him  to-day  that  we  shall  carry  these  other  measures,  whether 
he  thanks  God  for  them  or  not,  whether  he  opposes  them  or  not." 
[Laughter  and  applause  in  the  galleries.] 

After  an  extended  discussion,  the  Senate  refused,  by  a  vote  of 


136  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

thirty-three  against  eleven,  to  adopt  the  amendment  proposed  by 
Mr.  Cowan. 

The  bill  was  further  discussed  during  three  successive  days, 
Messrs.  Saulsbury,  Hendricks,  Johnson,  McDougall,  and  Davis 
speaking  against  the  measure,  and  Messrs.  Fessenden,  Creswell, 
and  Trumbull  in  favor  of  it.  Mr.  Garrett  Davis  addressed  the 
Senate  more  than  once  on  the  subject,  and  on  the  last  day  of  the 
discussion  made  a  very  long  speech,  which  was  answered  by  Mr. 
Trumbull.  The  Senator  from  Illinois,  at  the  conclusion  of  his 
speech,  remarked: 

"What  I  have  now  said  embraces,  I  believe,  all  the  points  of 
the  long  gentleman's  speech  except  the  sound  and  fury,  and  that 
I  will  not  undertake  to  reply  to." 

"You  mean  the  short  gentleman's  long  speech,"  interposed 
some  Senator. 

"Did  I  say  short?"  asked  Mr.  Trumbull.  "If  so,  it  was  a 
great  mistake  to  speak  of  any  thing  connected  with  the  Senator 
from  Kentucky  as  short."     [Laughter.] 

"It  is  long  enough  to  reach  you,"  responded  Mr.  Davis. 

The  vote  was  soon  after  taken  on  the  passage  of  the  bill,  with 
the  following  result: 

Teas— Messrs.  Anthony,  Brown,  Chandler,  Clark,  Conness,  Cragin,  Cres- 
well, Dixon,  Doolittle,  Fessenden,  Foot,  Foster,  Grimes^  Harris,  Henderson, 
Howard,  Howe,  Kirkwood,  Lane  of  Indiana,  Lane  of  Kansas,  Morgan,  Mor- 
rill, Norton,  Nye,  Poland,  Pomeroy,  Ramsey,  Sherman,  Sprague,  Stewart, 
Sumner,  Trumbull,  Van  Winkle,  Wade,  Williams,  Wilson,  and  Yates— 37. 

Nays— Messrs.  Buckalew,  Davis,  Guthrie,  Hendricks,  Johnson,  McDougall, 
Riddle,  Saulsbury,  Stockton,  and  Wright— 10. 

Absent— Messrs.  Cowan,  Nesmith,  and  Willey— 3. 

The  bill  having  passed,  the  question  came  up  as  to  its  title, 
which  it  was  proposed  to  leave  as  reported  by  the  committee :  "  A 
bill  to  enlarge  the  powers  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau." 

Mr.  Davis  moved  to  amend  the  title  by  substituting  for  it, 
"  A  bill  to  appropriate  a  portion  of  the  public  land  in  some  of 
the  Southern  States  and  to  authorize  the  United  States  Govern- 
ment to  purchase  lands  to  supply  farms  and  build  houses  upon 
them  for  the  freed  negroes ;  to  promote  strife  and  conflict  between 
the  white  and  black  races ;  and  to  invest  the  Freedmen's  Bureau 
with  unconstitutional  powers  to  aid  and  assist  the  blacks,  and  to 
introduce  military  power  to  prevent  the  commissioner  and  other 


TEE  FUEEBMEK.  137 

officers  of  said  bureau  from  being  restrained  or  held  responsible  in 
civil  courts  for  their  illegal  acts  in  rendering  such  aid  and  assist- 
ance to  the  blacks,  and  for  other  purposes." 

The  President  pro  tempore  pronounced  the  amendment  "  not 
in  order,  inconsistent  with  the  character  of  the  bill,  derogatory  to 
the  Senate,  a  reproach  to  its  members." 

Mr.  McDougall  declared  the  proposed  amendment  "an  insult 
to  the  action  of  the  Senate." 

The  unfortunate  proposition  was  quietly  abandoned  by  its  au- 
thor, and  passed  over  without  further  notice  by  the  Senate.  By 
unanimous  consent,  the  title  of  the  bill  remained  as  first  reported. 


138  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER   VII. 

THE   FREEDMEN'S   BUREAU   BILL   IN   THE    HOUSE. 

The  Bill  reported  to  the  House— Mr.  Eliot's  Speech— History— Mr. 
Dattson  vs.  the  Negro— Mr.  Garfield— The  Idol  Broken— Mr.  Taylor 

COUNTS  THE  COST— Mr.  DONNELLY'S  AMENDMENT— Mr.  KERR— Mr.  MAR- 
SHALL on  White  Slavery— Mr.  Hubbard— Mr.  Moulton— Opposition 
from  Kentucky— Mr.  Bitter— Mr.  Eousseau's  Threat — Mr.  Shank- 
lin's  Gloomy  Prospect— Mr.  Trimble's  Appeal— Mr.  McKee  an  ex- 
ceptional Kentuckian— Mr.  Grinnell  on  Kentucky— The  Example 
of  Russia — Mr.  Phelps — Me.  Shell abarger's  Amendment — Mr.  Chan- 
ler— Mr.  Stevens'  Amendments— Mr.  Eliot  closes  the  Discussion- 
Passage  of  the  Bill — Yeas  and  Nays. 

ON  the  day  succeeding  the  passage  of  the  bill  in  the  Senate, 
it  was  sent  to  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  by  them 
referred  to  the  Select  Committee  on  the  Freedmen. 
On  the  30th  of  January,  Mr.  Eliot,  Chairman  of  this  com- 
mittee, reported  the  bill  to  the  House  with  amendments,  mainly 
verbal  alterations. 

In  a  speech,  advocating  the  passage  of  the  bill,  Mr.  Eliot  pre- 
sented something  of  the  history  of  legislation  for  the  freedmen. 
He  said :  "  On  the  3d  day  of  last  March  the  bill  establishing  a 
Ereedmen's  Bureau  became  a  law.  It  was  novel  legislation, 
without  precedent  in  the  history  of  any  nation,  rendered  necessary 
by  the  rebellion  of  eleven  slave  States  and  the  consequent  libera- 
tion from  slavery  of  four  million  persons  whose  unpaid  labor 
had  enriched  the  lands  and  impoverished  the  hearts  of  their 
relentless  masters. 

"  At  an  early  day,  when  the  fortunes  of  war  had  shown  alter- 
nate triumphs  and  defeats  to  loyal  arms,  and  the  timid  feared 
and  the  disloyal  hoped,  it  was  my  grateful  office  to  introduce 
the  first  bill  creating  a  bureau  of  emancipation.     It  was  during 


THE  FREEDMEjY.  139 

the  Thirty-seventh  Congress.  But,  although  the  select  commit- 
tee to  which  the  bill  was  referred  was  induced  to  agree  that  it 
should  he  reported  to  the  House,  it  so  happened  that  the  dis- 
tinguished Chairman,  Judge  White,  of  Indiana,  did  not  succeed 
in  reporting  it  for  our  action.  At  the  beginning  of  the  Thirty- 
eighth  Congress  it  was  again  presented,  and  very  soon  was  re- 
ported back  to  the  Eouse  under  the  title  of  'A  bill  to  establish 
a  Bureau  of  Freedmen's  AH'airs.'  It  was  fully  debated  and 
passed  by  the  Eouse.  The  vote  was  sixty-nine  in  favor,  and 
sixty-seven  against  the  bill;  but  of  the  sixty-seven  who  opposed 
it,  fifty-six  had  been  counted  against  it,  because  of  their  political 
affinities.     On  the  1st  of  March,    1864,   the   bill   went   to  the 

Senate,     it  came  back  to  tie'   Eous 1  the  30th  of  June,  four 

<lay^  before  the  adjournment  <»f  Congress.  To  my  great  regret, 
the  Senate  had  passed  an  amendment  in  the  nature  of  a  sub- 
stitute, attaching  this  bureau  to  the  Treasury  Department;   but 

it    was   too    late   to    take  action    upon    it    then,    and    the    bill    was 

postponed  until  December.  At  that  time  the  Bouse  noii-con- 
concurred  wi  h  the  Senate,  and  a  committee  of  conference  was 
chosen.  The  managers  of  the  two  houses  could  not  agree  as  to 
whether  the  War  Department  or  the  Treasury  should  manage 
the  affairs  of  the  bureau.  They  therefore  agreed  upon  a  bill 
creating  an  independent  department  neither  attached  to  the  War 
nor  Treasury,  but  commumfating  directly  with  the  President, 
and  resting  for  its  support  upon  the  arm  of  the  War  Department. 
That  bill  was  also  passed  by  the  House  but  was  defeated  in  the 
Senate.  Another  Conference  Committee  was  chosen,  and  that 
committee,  whose  chairman  iu  the  House  was  the  distinguished 
gentleman  from  Ohio,  then  and  now  at  the  head  of  the  Military 
Committee,  agreed  upon  a  bill  attaching  the  bureau  to  the  War 
Department,  and  embracing  refugee^  as  well  as  freedmen  in  its 
terms.     That  bill  is  now  the  law. 

"The  law  was  approved  on  the  3d  of  March,  1865.  Nine 
months  have  not  yet  elapsed  since  its  organization.  The  order 
from  the  War  Department  under  which  the  bureau  was  organized 
bears  date  ou  the  12th  of  May,  1865.  General  Howard,  who 
was  then  in  command  of  the  Department  of  Tennessee,  was 
assigned  as  commissioner  of  the  bureau.  The  bill  became  a  law 
so  late  in  the  session  that  it  was  impossible  for  Congress  to 
legislate  any  appropriation  for   its  support.     It  was  necessary, 


140  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

therefore,  that  the  management  of  it  should  be  placed  in  the 
hands  of  military  officers,  and  fortunately  the  provisions  of  the 
bill  permitted  that  to  be  done.  General  Howard  was,  as  I 
stated,  in  command  of  the  Department  of  Tennessee,  when  he 
was  detailed  to  this  duty.  But  on  the  15th  of  May,  that  is  to 
say,  within  three  days  after  the  order  appointing  him,  was  issued, 
he  assumed  the  duties  of  his  office. 

"  In  the  course  of  a  few  days,  the  commissioner  of  the  bureau 
announced  more  particularly  the  policy  which  he  designed  to 
pursue.  The  whole  supervision  of  the  care  of  freedmen  and  of 
all  lands  which  the  law  placed  under  the  charge  of  the  bureau 
was  to  be  intrusted  to  assistant  commissioners. 

"Before  a  month  had  expired,  head-quarters  had  been  estab- 
lished for  assistant  commissioners  at  Richmond,  Raleigh,  Beau- 
fort, Montgomery,  Nashville,  St.  Louis,  Vicksburg,  New  Orleans, 
and  Jacksonville,  and  very  shortly  afterward  assistant  commis- 
sioners were  designated  for  those  posts  of  duty.  They  were  re- 
quired to  possess  themselves,  as  soon  as  practicable,  with  the 
duties  incident  to  their  offices,  to  quicken  in  every  way  they 
could  and  to  direct  the  industry  of  the  freedmen.  Notice  was 
given  that  the  relief  establishments  which  had  been  created  by 
law  under  the  operations  of  the  War  Department  should  be  dis- 
continued as  soon  as  they  could  be  consistently  with  the  comfort 
and  proper  protection  of  the  freeclnien,  and  that  every  effort 
should  be  made — and  I  call  the  attention  of  gentlemen  to  the 
fact  that  that  policy  has  been  pursued  throughout — that  every 
effort  should  be  made  to  render  the  freedmen,  at  an  early  day, 
self-supporting.  The  supplies  that  had  been  furnished  by  the 
Government  were  only  to  be  continued  so  long  as  the  actual 
wants  of  the  freedmen  seemed  to  require  it.  At  that  time  there 
were  all  over  the  country  refugees  who  were  seeking  their  homes, 
and  they  were  notified  that,  under  the  care  of  the  bureau,  they 
would  be  protected  from  abuse,  and  directed  in  their  efforts  to 
secure  transportation  and  proper  facilities  for  reaching  home. 

"Wherever  there  had  been  interruption  of  civil  law,  it  was 
found  impossible  that  the  rights  of  freedmen  could  be  asserted  in 
the  courts ;  and  where  there  were  no  courts  before  which  their 
rights  could  be  brought  for  adjudication,  military  tribunals,  pro- 
vost-marshals' courts,  were  established,  for  the  purpose  of  de- 
termining upon  questions  arising  between  freedmen  or  between 


THE  FREEDMEN.  141 

freed  men  and  other  parties;  and  that,  also,  has  been  continued  to 
this  day. 

"The  commissioners  were  instructed  to  permit  the  freedmen 
to  select  their  own  employers  and  to  choose  their  own  kind  of 
service.  All  agreements  were  ordered  to  be  free  and  mutual,  and 
not  to  be  compulsory.  The  old  system  that  had  prevailed  of 
overseer  labor  was  ordered  to  be  rejiudiated  by  the  commissioners 
who  haa  charge  of  the  laborers,  and  I  believe  there  has  been  no 
time  since  the  organization  of  the  bureau  when  there  have  not 
been  reports  made  to  head-quarters  at  Washington  of  all  labor 
contracts;  and  wherever  any  provisions  had  been  inserted,  by 
inadvertence  or  otherwise,  that  seemed  unjustly  to  operate  against 
the  freedmen,  they  have  been  stricken  out  by  direction  of  the 
commissioner  here. 

"In  the  course  of  the  next  month,  action  was  taken  by  the 
commissioner  respecting  a  provision  of  the  law  as  it  was  passed 
in  March,  authorizing  the  Secretary  of  War  to  make  issues  of 
clothing  ami  provisions,  and  the  assistanl  commissiontrs  were  re- 
quired carefully  to  ascertain  whatever  might  be  needed  under  that 
provision  of  the  law,  and  to  make  periodical  reports  as  to  the  de- 
mands made  upon  the  Government  through  the  bureau.  Direc- 
tions were  given  by  the  commissioner  to  his  assistant  commission- 
ers to  make  repeated  reports  to  him  upon  all  the  various  subjects 
which  had  come  under  his  charge — with  regard  to  the  number 
of  freedmen,  where  they  were,  whether  in  camps  or  in  colonies, 
or  whether  they  were  employed  upon  Government  works,  and 
stating,  if  they  obtained  supplies,  how  they  were  furnished, 
whether  by  donations  or  whether  procured  by  purchase.  Keports 
were  also  required  as  to  all  lands  which  had  been  put  under  the 
care  of  the  bureau ;  and  statements  were  called  for  showing  de- 
scriptions of  the  lands,  whether,  in  the  language  of  the  law, 
'  abandoned '  or  '  confiscated/  so  that  the  bureau  here  could  have 
full  and  complete  information  of  all  action  of  its  agents  through- 
out these  States,  and  upon  examination  it  could  be  determined 
where  any  specific  lands  which  were  under  the  charge  of  the  bu- 
reau came  from,  and  how  they  were  derived. 

"  In  the  course  of  the  summer,  it  became  necessary  to  issue  ad- 
ditional instructions.  The  commissioner  found  that  his  way  was 
beset  with  difficulties ;  he  was  walking  upon  unknown  ground ;  he 
was  testing  here  and  there  questions  involved  in  doubt.     It  was 


14%  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

hardly  possible  at  ouce  and  by  one  order  to  designate  all  that  it 
would  be  needful  for  him  to  do,  and,  therefore,  different  instruc- 
tions were  issued  from  time  to  time  from  his  office.  The  assist- 
ant commissioners  were  called  upon  thoroughly  to  examine, 
either  by  themselves  or  their  agents,  the  respective  districts  allot- 
ted to  them,  to  make  inquiry  as  to  the  character  of  the  freedmen 
under  their  charge,  their  ability  to  labor,  their  disposition  to 
labor,  and  the  circumstances  under  which  they  were  placed,  so 
that  the  aid,  the  care,  and  the  protection  which  the  law  contem- 
plated might  be  afforded  to  them  as  quickly  and  as  economically 
as  possible. 

"The  commissioner  continually  repeated  his  injunctions  to  his 
assistants  to  be  sure  that  no  compulsory  or  unpaid  labor  was  tol- 
erated, and  that  both  the  moral  and  intellectual  condition  of  the 
freedmen  should  be  improved  as  systematically  and  as  quickly  as 
practicable. 

"  When  the  bureau  was  first  organized,  indeed  when  it  was  first 
urged  uponathe  attention  of  this  House,  it  was  stated  and  it  was 
believed  that  the  bureau  would  very  shortly  be  self-sustaining. 
That  was  the  idea  from  the  beginning.  And  when  it  was  stated 
here  in  debate  that  the  bureau  would  probably  be  self-sustaining, 
it  was  supposed  that  from  the  lands  abandoned,  confiscated,  sold, 
and  the  lands  of  the  United  States,  which  by  the  provisions  of 
the  bill  had  been  placed  under  the  care  of  the  commissioner, 
these  freedmen  would  be  given  an  opportunity  to  earn  substan- 
tially enough  for  the  conduct  of  the  bureau.  And  I  have  no 
doubt  at  all  that  such  would  have  been  the  case  had  the  original 
expectation  been  carried  out. 

"There  were  large  tracts  of  land  in  Virginia  and  the  other 
rebel  States  which  were  clearly  applicable  to  this  purpose.  There 
was  the  source  of  supply — the  lands  and  the  labor.  There  were 
laborers  enough,  and  there  was  rich  land  enough.  At  a  very 
early  day  the  abandoned  lands  were  turned  over  to  the  care  of 
the  commissioners,  and  I  supposed,  aud  probably  we  all  supposed, 
that  the  lands  which  in  the  language  of  the  law  were  known  as 
'  abandoned  lands/  and  those  which  were  in  the  possession  of  the 
United  States,  would  be  appropriated  to  the  uses  of  these  freed- 
men. Within  a  week  after  the  commissioner  assumed  the  duties 
of  his  office,  he  found  it  necessary  to  issue  an  order  substantially 
like  this :  Whereas,  large  amounts  of  lands  in  the  State  of  Vir- 


THE  FREEDMEN.  US 

ginia  and  in  other  States  have  been  abandoned,  and  are  now  in 
the  possession  of  the  freedmen,  and  are  now  under  cultivation  by 
them;  and,  whereas,  the  owners  of  those  lands  arc  now  calling 
for  their  restoration,  so  as  to  deprive  the  freedmen  of  the  results 
of  their  industry,  it  is  ordered  that  the  abandoned  lands  now 
under  cultivation  be  retained  by  the  freedmen  until  the  growing 
crops  can  be  secured,  unless  full  and  just  compensation  can  be 
made  them  for  their  labor  and  its  products. 

"'The  above  order' — this  is  the  part  about  which  it  appeared 
thai  some  difference  of  judgment  existed  between  the  Executive 
and  the  commissioner  of  the  bureau — 'the  above  order  will  not 
instrued  so  as  to  relieve  disloyal  persons  from  the  conse- 
quences of  their  disloyalty.;  and  the  application  for  the  restora- 
tion of  their  Lands  by  this  class  of  persons  will  in  no  case  be 
entertained  by  any  military  authority.' 

"It  was  found,  not  a  great  while  afterward,  that  the  views 
which  the  President  entertained  as  to  his  duty  were  somewhat  in 
conflict  with  the  provisions  of  this  order;  for  it  was  held  by  the 
IV  sidenl  thai  persons  who  had  brought  themselves  within  the 
range  of  his  pardon  and  had  secured  it,  and  who  had  taken  or 
did  afterward  take  the  amnesty  oath,  would  be  entitled,  as  one 
of  the  results  of  the  pardon  and  of  their  position  after  the  oath 
had  been  taken,  to  a  restoration  of  their  lands  which  had  been 
a-signed  to  freedmen.  In  consequence  of  this,  an  order  was  sub- 
sequently  issued,  well  known  as  circular  Xo.  15.  And  under  the 
operation  of  that  circular,  on  its  appearing  satisfactorily  to  any 
assistant  commissioner  that  any  property  under  his  control  is  not 
'abandoned,'  as  denned  in  the  law,  and  that  the  United  States 
have  acquired  no  perfect  right  to  it,  it  is  to  be  restored  and  the 
fact  reported  to  the  commissioner.  '  Abandoned '  lands  were  to 
be  restored  to  the  owners  pardoned  by  the  President,  by  the  assist- 
ant commissioners,  to  whom  applications  for  such  restoration  were 
to  be  forwarded;  and  each  application  was  to  be  accompanied  by 
the  pardon  of  the  President  and  by  a  copy  of  the  oath  of  amnesty 
prescribed  in  the  President's  proclamation,  and  also  by  a  proof  of 
title  to  the  land.  It  must  be  obvious  that  the  effect  of  this  must 
have  been  to  transfer  from  the  care  of  the  bureau  to  the  owners 
very  large  portions  of  the  land  which  had  been  relied  upon  for 
the  support  of  the  freedmen.  Within  a  few  weeks  from  the  date 
of  that  order,  no  less  than  §800,000  worth  of  property  in  New 


144  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Orleans  was  transferred,  and  about  one  third  of  the  whole  prop- 
erty in  North  Carolina  in  possession  of  the  bureau  was  given  up  ; 
and  the  officer  having  charge  of  the  land  department  reports  that 
before  the  end  of  the  year,  in  all  probability,  there  will  be  under 
the  charge  of  the  commissioner  little,  if  any,  of  the  lands  origi- 
nally designed  for  the  support  of  these  freedmen. 

"  It  is  obvious,  if  these  lands  are  to  be  taken,  that  other  lands 
must  be  provided,  or  the  freedmen  will  become  a  dead  weight 
upon  the  Treasury,  and  the  bill  under  consideration  assigns  other 
lands,  in  the  place  of  those  thus  taken,  from  the  unoccupied  pub- 
He  lands  of  the  United  States." 

On  the  following  day,  Mr.  Dawson,  of  Pennsylvania,  obtained 
the  floor  in  opposition  to  the  bill.  His  speech  was  not  devoted 
to  a  discussion  of  the  bill  in  question,  but  was  occupied  entirely 
with  general  political  and  social  topics.  The  following  extract 
indicates  the  tenor  of  the  speech : 

"Negro  equality  does  not  exist  in  nature.  The  African  is 
without  a  history.  He  has  never  shown  himself  capable  of  self- 
government  by  the  creation  of  a  single  independent  State  possess- 
ing the  attributes  which  challenge  the  respect  of  others.  The 
past  is  silent  of  any  negro  people  who  possessed  military  and 
civil  organization,  who  cultivated  the  arts  at  home,  or  conducted 
a  regular  commerce  with  their  neighbors.  No  African  general 
has  marched  south  of  the  desert,  from  the  waters  of  the  Nile  to 
the  Niger  and  Senegal,  to  unite  by  conquest  the  scattered  terri- 
tories of  barbarous  tribes  into  one  great  and  homogeneous  king- 
dom. No  Moses,  Solon,  Lycurgus,  or  Alfred  has  left  them  a  code 
of  wise  and  salutary  laws.  They  have  had  no  builder  of  cities ; 
they  have  no  representatives  in  the  arts,  in  science,  or  in  litera- 
ture; they  have  been  without  even  a  monument,  an  alphabet,  or 
a  hieroglyphic." 

On  the  other  hand,  Mr.  Garfield,  of  Ohio,  among  the  friends 
of  the  measure,  delivered  a  speech  "  on  the  Freedmen's  Bureau 
Bill,"  in  which  the  topic  discussed  was  "  Restoration  of  the  Rebel 
States."     In  the  course  of  his  remarks  Mr.  Garfield  said : 

"  Let  the  stars  of  heaven  illustrate  our  constellation  of  States. 
When  God  launched  the  planets  upon  their  celestial  pathway,  he 
bound  them  all  by  the  resistless  power  of  attraction  to  the  cen- 
tral sun,  around  which  they  revolved  in  their  appointed  orbits. 
Each  may  be  swept  by  storms,  may  be  riven  by  lightnings,  may 


THE  FREEDMEN.  145 

be  rocked  by  earthquakes,  may  be  devastated  by  all  the  terres- 
trial forces  and  overwhelmed  in  ruin,  but  far  away  in  the  ever- 
lasting depths,  the  sovereign  sun  holds  the  turbulent  planet  in  its 
place.  This  earth  may  be  overwhelmed  until  the  high  hills  are 
covered  by  the  sea ;  it  may  tremble  with  earthquakes  miles  below 
the  soil,  but  it  must  still  revolve  in  its  appointed  orbit.  So  Ala- 
bama may  overwhelm  all  her  municipal  institutions  in  ruin,  but 
she  can  not  annul  the  omnipotent  decrees  of  the  sovereign  people 
of  the  Union.  She  must  be  held  forever  in  her  orbit  of  obedience 
and  duty." 

After  having  quoted  Gibbon's  narrative  of  the  destruction  of 
the  collossal  statue  of  Serapis  by  Theophilus,  Mr.  Garfield  said : 
"  So  slavery  sat  in  our  national  Capitol.  Its  huge  bulk  filled 
the  temple  of  our  liberty,  touching  it  from  side  to  side.  Mr. 
Lincoln,  on  the  1st  of  January,  1863,  struck  it  on  the  cheek,  and 
the  faithless  and  unbelieving  among  us  expected  to. see  the  fabric 
of  our  institutions  dissolve  into  chaos  because  their  idol  had  fallen. 
He  struck  it  again;  Congress  and  the  States  repeated  the  blow, 
and  its  unsightly  carcass  lies  rotting  in  our  streets.  The  sun 
shines  in  the  heavens  brighter  than  before.  Let  us  remove  the 
carcass  ana  leave  not  a  vestige  of  the  monster.  We  shall  never 
have  done  that  until  we  have  dared  to  come  up  to  the  spirit  of 
the  Pilgrim  covenant  of  1620,  and  declare  that  all  men  shall  be 
consulted  in  regard  to  the  disposition  of  their  lives,  liberty,  and 
property.  The  Pilgrim  fathers  proceeded  on  the  doctrine  that 
every  man  was  supposed  to  know  best  what  he  wanted,  and  had 
the  right  to  a  voice  in  the  disposition  of  himself." 

•Mr.  Taylor,  of  New  York,  opposed  the  bill  principally  on  the 
ground  of  the  expense  involved  in  its  execution.  After  having 
presented  many  columns  of  figures,  Mr.  Taylor  arrived  at  this 
conclusion :  "  The  cost  or  proximate  cost  of  the  bureau  for  one 
year,  confining  its  operation  to  the  hitherto  slave  States,  will  be 
$25,251,600.  That  it  is  intended  to  put  the  bureau  in  full  ope- 
ration in  every  county  and  parish  of  the  hitherto  slave  States, 
including  Delaware,  Maryland,  Kentucky,  and  Missouri,  I  have 
not  the  least  doubt,  nor  have  I  any  doubt  but  that  it  is  intended 
to  extend  it  into  parts  of  some  of  the  border  States." 

Mr.  Donnelly  moved  to  amend  the  bill  by  inserting  the  pro- 
vision that  "the  commissioner  may  provide  a  common-school 
education  for  all  refugees  and  freedmqn  who  shall  apply  therefor." 
10 


lJfG  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

He  advocated  education  as  an  efficient  means  of  restoration  for 
the  South.  He  presented  ample  tables  of  statistics,  and  summed 
up  the  results  in  their  bearing  upon  his  argument  as  follows : 

"  The  whole  United  States,  with  a  population  of  27,000,000, 
contains  834,106  illiterate  persons,  and  of  these  545,177  are  found 
in  the  Southern  States  with  a  population  of  12,000,000.  In  other 
words,  the  entire  populous  North  contains  but  288,923,  while  the 
sparsely-settled  South  contains  545,177." 

As  an  argument  for  the  passage  of  the  bill,  he  answered  the 
question,  "  What  has  the  South  done  for  the  black  man  since  the 
close  of  the  rebellion  ?  " 

"  In  South  Carolina  it  is  provided  that  all  male  negroes  be- 
tween two  and  twenty,  and  all  females  between  two  and  eighteen, 
shall  be  bound  out  to  some  '  master.'  The  adult  negro  is  com- 
pelled to  enter  into  contract  with  a  master,  and  the  district  judge, 
not  the  laborer,  is  to  fix  the  value  of  the  labor.  If  he  thinks 
the  compensation  too  small  and  will  not  work,  he  is  a  vagrant, 
and  can  be  hired  out  for  a  term  of  service  at  a  rate  again  to  be 
fixed  by  the  judge.  If  a  hired-  negro  leaves  his  employer  he  for- 
feits his  wages  for  the  whole  year. 

"  The  black  code  of  Mississippi  provides  that  no  negro  shall 
own  or  hire  lands  in  the  State ;  that  he  shall  not  sue  nor  testify 
in  court  against  a  white  man;  that  he  must  be  employed  by  a 
master  before  the  second  Monday  in  January,  or  he  will  be  bound 
out — in  other  words,  sold  into  slavery ;  that  if  he  runs  away  the 
master  may  recover  him,  ajid  deduct  the  expenses  out  of  his 
wages ;  and  that  if  another  man  employs  him  he  will  be  liable  to 
an  action  for  damages.  It  is  true,  the  President  has  directed 
General  Thomas  to  disregard  this  code;  but  the  moment  the 
military  force  is  withdrawn  from  the  State  that  order  will  be  of 
no  effect. 

"  The  Merck  code  of  Alabama  provides  that  if  a  negro  who  has 
contracted  to  labor  fails  to  do  so,  he  shall  be  punished  with  dam- 
ages ;  and  if  he  runs  away  he  shall  be  punished  as  a  vagrant, 
which  probably  means  that  he  shall  be  sold  to  the  highest  bidder 
for  a  term  of  years ;  and  that  any  person  who  entices  him  to  leave 
his  master,  as  by  the  offer  of  better  wages,  shall  be  guilty  of  a 
misdemeanor,  and  may  be  sent  to  jail  for  six  months;  and  further, 
that  these  regulations  include  all  persons  of  negro  biood  to  the 
third  generation,  though  one  parent  in  each  generation  shall  be 


TEE  FREEDMEN.  I47 

• 

pure  white ;  that  is,  clown  to  the  man  who  has  but  one  eighth 
negro  blood  in  his  veins. 

After  quoting  the  black  codes  of  'other  States,  the  speaker  thus 
epitomized  their  substance :  "  All  this  means  simply  the  reestab- 
lishment  of  slavery. 

"  1.  He  shall  work  at  a  rate  of  *wages  to  be  fixed  by  a  county 
judge  or  a  Legislature  made  up  of  white  masters,  or  by  combina- 
tions of  white  masters,  and  not  in  any  case  by  himself. 

"  2.  He  shall  not  leave  that  master  to  enter  service  with  an- 
other. If  he  does  he  is  pursued  as  a  fugitive,  charged  with  the 
expenses  of  his  recapture,  and  made  to  labor  for  an  additional 
period,  while  the  white  man  who  induced  him  to  leave  is  sent  to 
jail. 

"3.  His  children  are  taken  from  him  and  sold  into' virtual 
slavery. 

"  4.  If  he  refuses  to  work,  he  is  sold  to  the  highest  bidder  for 
a  term  of  months  or  years,  and  becomes,  in  fact,  a  slave. 

"  5.  He  can  not  better  his  condition ;  there  is  no  future  for 
him ;  he  shall  not  own  property ;  he  shall  not  superintend  the 
education  of  his  children ;  neither  will  the  State  educate  them. 

"  6.  If  he  is  wronged,  he  has  no  remedy ;  for  the  courts  are 
closed  against  him." 

Mr.  Kerr,  of  Indiana,  addressed  the  House  on  the  subject  of 
reconstruction,  maintaining,  by  extended  arguments  and  quota- 
tions from  learned  authorities,  that  the  rebel  States  were  still  in 
the  Union.  He  concluded  his  speech  by  opposing  the  bill  under 
consideration  on  the  ground  of  its  expense :  "  It  involves  the 
creation  of  a  small  army  of  agents  and  commissioners,  whose 
jurisdiction  and  control  shall  pervade  the  whole  country,  shall 
extend  into  every  State,  into  every  congressional  district,  into 
every  county,  into  every  township  and  city  of  this  broad  Union ; 
provided,  only,  that  they  can  find  some  freedmen  or  refugees  upon 
whom  to  exercise  their  jurisdiction.  I  submit  that,  before  a 
measure  of  this  kind  should  be  adopted,  we  should  reflect  most 
carefully  upon  what  we  are  doing.  We  should  remember  that 
this  country  is  now  almost  crushed  into  the  very  earth  with  its 
accumulated  burden  of  public  debt,  of  State  debts,  of  county 
debts,  of  city  debts,  of  township  debts,  of  individual  debts.  We 
should  bear  in  mind,  that  we  may  impose  upon  the  people  of  this 
country,  by  this  kind  of  latitudinarian  and  most  dangerous  legis- 


148  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

lation,  a  burden  that  is  too  heavy  to  be  borne,  and  against  which 
the  day  may  come  when  the  people,  as  one  man,  will  feel  them- 
selves called  upon  to  protest  in  such  a  manner-  as  forever  to  over- 
throw that  kind  of  legislation,  and  condemn  to  merited  reproach 
those  who  favor  it." 

On  a  subsequent  day  of  the  discussion,  Mr.  Marshall,  of  Illi- 
nois, spoke  against  the  bill.  He  put  much  stress  upon  an  objec- 
tion to  which  nearly  all  the  opponents  of  the  bill  had  referred, 
namely,  that  Congress  had  no  warrant  in  the  Constitution  for 
passing  such  a  measure.  He  said  :  "  Instead  of  this  being  called 
a  bill  for  the  protection  of  freedmen  and  refugees,  it  ought  to  be 
called  a  bill  for  the  purpose  of  destroying  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States,  and  subjecting  the  people  thereof  to  military  power 
and  domination.     That  would  be  a  much  more  appropriate  title." 

Mr.  Marshall  was  "opposed  to  bestowing  any  thing  in  charity. 
"  I  deny,"  said  he,  "  that  this  Federal  Government  has .  any 
authority  to  become  the  common  almoner  of  the  charities  of  the 
people.  I  deny  that  there  is  any  authority  in  the  Federal  Con- 
stitution to  authorize  us  to  put  our  hands  into  their  pockets  and 
take  therefrom  a  part  of  their  hard  earnings  in  order  to  dis- 
tribute them  as  charity.  I  deny  that  the  Federal  Government 
was  established  for  any  such  purpose,  or  that  there  is  any  au- 
thority or  warrant  in  the  Constitution  for  the  measures  which 
are  proposed  in  this  most  extraordinary  bill." 

He  viewed  with  horror  the  slavery  which  the  head  of  the  War 
Department  could  impose  upon  the  people  by  virtue  pf  the  pro- 
visions of  this  bill.  "  He  is  to  send  his  military  satraps,"  said 
Mr.  Marshall,  "  into  every  county  and  district  of  these  States ; 
and  they  may  enslave  and  put  down  the  entire  white  people  of  the 
country  by  virtue  of  this  law."  He  saw  in  the  bill  power  "  to  rob 
the  people  by  unjust  taxation;  to  take  the  hard  earnings  from  the 
white  people  of  the  "West,  who,  unless  wiser  counsels  prevail,  will 
themselves  soon  be  reduced  to  worse  than  Egyptian  bondage.  I 
demand  to  be  informed  here  upon  this  floor  by  what  power  you 
put  your  hands  into  their  pockets  and  drag  from  them  their 
money  to  carry  out  the  purposes  of  this  measure." 

Mr.  Hubbard,  of  Connecticut,  made  a  short  speech  in  reply  to 
the  speaker  last  quoted.  He  said:  "The  gentleman  from  Illinois, 
some  twenty  times  in  the.  course  of  his  eloquent  speech  this  morn- 
ing, called  upon  some  one  to  tell  him  where  Congress  gets  the 


THE  FREEDMEN.  149 

power  to  enact  such  a  law  as  this.  In  the  first  place,  I  commend 
to  him  to  read  the  second  section  of  the  article  of  the  immortal 
amendment  of  the  Constitution,  giving  to  Congress  power  to  pass 
all  appropriate  laws  and  make  all  appropriate  legislation  for  the 
purpose  of  carrying  out  its  provisions.  I  commend'  to  his  careful 
study  the  spirit  of  the  second  section  of  that  immortal  amendment, 
and  I  think,  if  he  will  study  it  with  a  willingness  to  be  convinced, 
he  will  sec  that  it  has  given  to  this  Congress  full  power  in  the 
premises.  Moreover,  sir,  I  read  in  the  Constitution  that  Congress 
has  been  at  all  times  charged  with  the  duty  of  providing  for  the 
public  welfare;  and  if  Congress  shall  deem  that  the  public  wel- 
fare requires  tin-  enactment,  it  is  the  sworn  duty  of  every  mem- 
ber to  give  the  bill  his  support. 

"  Sir,  there  is  an  old  maxim  of  law  in  which  I  have  very  con- 
siderable faith,  that  regard  musl  be  had  to  the  public  welfare ; 
and  this  maxim  is  said  to  be  the  highest  law.  It  is  the  law  of 
the  Constitution,  and  in  the  light  of  that  Constitution  as  amended 
I  find  ample  power  for  the  enactment  of  this  law.  It  is  the  duty 
of  Congress  to  exercise  its  power  in  such  a  time  as  this,  in  a  time 
of  public  peril ;  and  I  hope  that  nobody  on  this  side  of  the  House 
will  be  so,  craven  as  t<>  want  courage  to  come  up  to  the  question 
and  give  his  vote  for  the  bill.  It  is  necessary  to  provide  for  the 
public  welfare." 

Mr.  Moulton,  of  Illinois,  spoke  in  favor  of  the  bill.  Of  the 
oft -repeated  objection  that  "  this  bill  is  in  violation  of  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States,"  he  said :  "  This  is  the  very  argu- 
ment that  we  have  heard  from  the  other  side  of  this  chamber  for 
the  last  five  years  with  reference  to  every  single  measure  that  has 
been  proposed  to  this  House  for  the  prosecution  of  the  war  for 
the  Union.  Xo  measure  has  been  passed  for  the  benefit  of  the 
country,  for  the  prosecution  of  this  war,  for  the  defense  of  your 
rights  and  mine,  but  has  been  assailed  by  gentlemen  on  the  oppo- 
site side  of  this  House  with  the  argument  that  the  whole  thing 
was  unconstitutional." 

He  then  proceeded  to  set  forth  at  length  the  authority  of 
Congress  to  pass  such  a  bill. 

Very  strenuous  opposition  to  the  passage  of  the  bill  was  made 
by  most  of  the  members  from  Kentucky.  Mr.  Ritter,  of  that 
State,  uttered  his  earnest  protest  at  considerable  length  against 
the  measure.     He  presented  his  views  of  the  "grand  purposes 


150  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

and  designs  of  those  who  introduced  this  bill."  In  his  opinion 
they  intended  "to  commence  a  colony  in  each  one  of  the  five 
States  above  named,  which  is  ultimately  to  drive  out  the  entire 
white  population  of  those  States  and  fill  their  places  with  the 
negro  race.  And  whether  this  is  the  design  or  not,  it  is  certain, 
in  my  judgment,  to  have  this  effect.  And  they  could  not  have 
devised  a  more  effectual  scheme  for  that  purpose. 

"  Sir,  it  is  not  to  be  expected  that  the  two  races  will  live  con- 
tentedly where  there  are  large  numbers  of  the  colored  people 
living  near  to  neighborhoods  settled  with  white  persons.  Expe- 
rience has  proved  to  many  of  us  that  wherever  large  numbers  of 
colored  people  live,  that  the  white  people  living  within  five  or  ten 
miles  of  the  place  become  sufferers  to  a  very  large  extent.  Now, 
sir,  if  this  should  be  the  case  (as  I  have  no  doubt  it  will)  in  the 
States  in  which  you  propose  to  establish  the'se  people,  the  whites 
and  blacks  will  disagree  to  such  an  extent  that,  when  people  find 
that  the  colored  people  are  permanently  established,  they  will  be 
compelled,  in  self  defense,  to  seek  a  home  somewhere  else.  No 
doubt,  Mr.  Speaker,  but  that  those  who  prepared  this  bill  saw 
that  the  difficulties  and  disagreements  to  which  I  have  just  al- 
luded would  arise,  and  hence  they  require  that  military  jurisdiction 
and  protection  shall  be  extended,  so  as  to  give  safety  in  their 
movements ;  and  if  the  white  inhabitants  become  dissatisfied,  the 
commissioner  is  prepared  with  authority  by  this  bill  to  buy 
them  out  and  put  the  negroes  upon  the  land." 

He  thus  presented  his  calculation  of  the  cost  of  carrying  out 
the  bill  as  an  argument  against  it:  "In  1822  the  ordinary  ex- 
penses of  the  Government  were  $9,827,643,  and  in  1823  the  ex- 
penses amounted  to  the  sum  of  $9,784,154.  Now,  sir,  who  could 
have  thought  at  that  day  that  in  the  comparatively  short  time  of 
forty-three  years  it  would  require  the  sum  of  even  $12,000,000  to 
fix  up  a  machinery  alone  for  the  benefit  of  three  or  four  million 
negroes,  and  more  especially,  sir,  when  it  is  understood  that  in 
1820  we  had  a  population,  including  white  and  colored,  of  9,633,- 
545.  Mr;  Speaker,'  how '  long  will  it  be  at  this  rate — when  we 
take  into  consideration  the  fact  that  our  Government  proper,  be- 
sides this  little  bureau  machine,  is  now  costing  us  hundreds  of 
millions  of  dollars — how  long,  sir,  will  it  be  before  we  have  to 
call  in  the  services  of  Mr.  Kennedy,  of  census  notoriety,  to  esti- 
mate the  amount  of  the  debt  we  owe  ?  " 


THE  FREEDMEN.  151 

Mr.  Rousseau,  of  Kentucky,  in  defining  his  position,  said :  "  I 
am  not  a  Republican;  I  was  a  Whig  and  a  Union  man,  and  belong 
to  the  Union  party,  and  I  am  sorry  to  say  that  the  Union  party 
and  the  Republican  party  are  not  always  convertible  terms." 

Mr.  Rousseau  urged  against  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  the 
wrongs  and  oppressions  which  its  abuses  heaped  upon  the  people 
of  the  South.  In  the  course  of  his  speech  Mr.  Rousseau  quoted 
what  he  had  said  on  one  occasion  to  an  official  of  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau :  "  I  said  to  him,  '  if  you  intend  to  arrest  white  people  on 
the  ex  parte  statements  of  negroes,  and.  hold  them  to  suit  your 
convenience  for  trial,  and  fine  and  imprison  them,  then  I  say  that 
I  oppose  you;  and  if  you  should  so  arrest  and  punish  me,  I 
would  kill  yon  when  you  set  me  at  liberty;  and  I  think  that  you 
would  do  the  same  to  a  man  who  would  treat  you  in  that  way, 
if  you  arc  the  man  I  think  you  are,  and  the  man  you  ought  to 
be  to  fill  your  position  here' " 

This  extracl  has  considerable  importance  as  being  the  occasion 
of  an  unfortunate  personal  difficulty  between  Mr.  Rousseau  and 
Mr.  Grinnell,  of  Iowa,  narrated  in  a  subsequent  chapter.  The 
latter  portion  of  Mr.  Rousseau's  speech  was  devoted  to  the  subject 
of  reconstruction.  He  was  followed  by  Mr.  Shanklin,  of  Ken- 
tucky. He  characterized  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  as  a  "gigantic 
monster."  He  declared  that  "  the  effect  of  this  measure  upon  the 
negro  population  will  be  to  paralyze  their  energy,  destroy  their 
industry,  and  make  them  paupers  and  vagabonds."  He  saw 
"  revolution  and  ruin  "  in  prospect.  "  I  affirm,"  said  he,  "  that 
in  legislating  for  those  States,  or  without  allowing  them  any 
representation  in  these  halls,  you  are  violating  one  of  the  cardi- 
nal principles  of  republican  government ;  you  are  tearing  down 
the  main  pillar  upon  which  our  whole  fabric  of  Government 
rests;  you  are  sowing  broadcast  the  seeds  of  revolution  and  ruin. 
Mr.  Speaker,  if  the  object  of  gentlemen  here  is  to  restore  har- 
mony and  peace  and  prosperity  throughout  the  Union,  why  do 
they  adopt  measures  thus  insulting,  tyrannical,  and  oppressive  in 
their  character?  Is  this  the  way  to  restore  harmony  and  peace 
and  prosperity?  How  can  you  expect  to  gain  the  respect  and 
affection  of  those  people  by  heaping  upon  them  insult  and  injus- 
tice ?  If  they  have  the  spirit  of  their  ancestors,  you  may  crush 
them,  you  may  slay  them,  but  you  can  never  cause  them  to  love 


152  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

you  or  respect  you;  and  they  ought  not  while  you  force  upon 
them  measures  which  are  only  intended  to  degrade  them." 

Mr.  Trimble,  of  Kentucky,  viewed  the  question  in  a  similar 
light  to  that  in  which  it  was  regarded  by  his  colleague.  "I 
hold/'  said  he,  "this  bill  is  in  open  and  plain  violation  of  that 
provision  of  the  Constitution.  There  exists  no  power  in  this 
Government  to  deprive  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  of  his  prop- 
erty, to  take  away  the  hard  earnings  of  his  own  industry  and 
bestow  them  upon  this  class  of  citizens.  The  only  way  you  can 
take  j)roperty  in  South  Carolina,  Georgia,  or  any  other  State,  is 
to  take  that  property  under,  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States 
and  the  laws  passed  in  pursuance  thereof." 

He  closed  his  speech  with  the  following  appeal :  "  I  appeal  to 
my  friends  who  love  this  Union,  who  love  it  for  all  the  memories 
of  the  past,  who  love  it  because  it  has  protected  them  and  theirs ; 
I  appeal  to  them  to  pause  and  reflect  before  they  press  this  meas- 
ure upon  these  people ;  for  I  tell  you  that,  in  my  j  udgment,  the 
effects  of  the  provisions  of  this  bill  to  us  as  a  nation  will  not  be 
told  in  our  lifetimes.  If  legislation  of  this  character  is  to  be 
pressed  here,  I  awfully  fear  hope  will  Sink  within  us.  Our  love 
for  this  Union  and  desire  for  its  restoration  will  be  greatly  weak- 
ened and  estranged." 

Mr.  McKee  alone,  of  all  the  Representatives  from  Kentucky, 
was  favorable  to  the  bill.  The  opponents  of  the  measure  had 
spoken  of  it  as  a  "  monstrous  usurpation."  "  We  have  heard  that 
talk,"  said  Mr.  McKee,  "for  more  than  four  years  here.  What 
bill  has  been  introduced  into  and  passed  by  Congress  since  this 
war  began  that  this  same  party  has  not  been  accustomed  to  de- 
nounce as  a  monstrous  usurpation  of  power?  When  the  Bresident 
of  the  United  States  issued  his  call  for  troops  they  cried  out,  '  A 
monstrous  usurpation  of  power.'  When  he  sent  a  requisition  to 
the  Governor  of  my  own  State,  what  was  the  response  ?  '  Not  a 
man,  not  a  dollar,  to  prosecute  this  wicked  war  against  our 
Southern  brethren.'  And  the  Union  party,  God  help  them !  in 
Kentucky,  indorsed  the  sentiment  at  that  day.  I  did  not  belong 
to  that  part  of  the  Union  party ;  I  never  belonged  to  that  '  neu- 
trality concern.'  I  never  put  in  my  oar  to  help  propel  that  ship 
which  was  in  favor  of  thundering  forth  with  its  cannon  against 
the^  North  and  the  South  alike.  I  never  belonged  to  that  party 
which  said,  <We  will  stand  as  a  wall  of  fire  against  either  side.' 


THE  FREEDMEM.       \  153 

I  thank  God  I  never  stood  upon  but  one  side,  and  that  was  the 
side  of  my  country,  against  treason,  against  oppression,  against 
wrong  in  all  its  forms." 

In  arguing  the  necessity  for  some  such  legislation  as  that  pro- 
vided in  this  bill,  Mr.  McKcc  asked,  "  Has  any  Southern  State 
given  the  frccdmen  ' their  full  rights  and  full  protection?'  Is 
there  a  solitary  State  of  those  that  have  been  in  rebellion,  (and  I 
include  my  own  State  with  the  rest,  because,  although  she  has 
never  been,  by  proclamation,  declared  a  State  in  rebellion,  I  think 
she  has  been  one  of  the  most  rebellious  of  the  whole  crew,)  is 
there  a  single  one  of  these  States  that  has  passed  laws  to  give 
the  freedmen  full  protection?  In  vain  we  wait  an  affirmative 
response.  Until  these  States  have  done  so,  says  this  high  author- 
ity, the  Freed  men's  Bureau  is  a  necessity.  This  is  to  my  mind  a 
sufficient  answer  to  the  arguments  of  gentlemen  on  the  other  side. 
In  none  of  those  States  has  the  black  man  a  law  to  protect  him 
in  his  rights,  either  of  person  or  property.  He  can  sue  in  a  court 
of  justice  in  my  State,  but  he  can  command  no  testimony  in  his 
prosecution  or  defense  milt--  the  witness  be  a  white  man.  We 
have  one  code  for  the  white  man,  another  for  the  black.  Is  this 
justice?  Where  is  your  court  of  justice  in  any  Southern.  State 
where  the  black  man  can  secure  protection?  Again  there  is  no 
response." 

Mr.  Gmnnell,  of  Iowa,  a  member  of  the  committee  that  had 
reported  this  bill,  took  the  floor  in  its  favor.  Much  having  been 
said  by  Representatives  of  Kentucky  in  reference  to  that  State, 
Mr.  Grinncll  remarked:  "I  can  not  forget,  when  I  hear  these 
extravagant  claims  set  up  here,  that  her  Governor,  in  the  first 
year  of  the  rebellion,  refused  to  honor  the  call  for  troops  made 
by  the  President  of  the  United  States  in  our  darkest  hour ;  nor 
.  can  I  forget  that  when  her  soldiers  wished  to  organize  regiments 
they  were  obliged  to  cross  the  Ohio  River  into  the  State  of  In- 
diana,, that  they  might  organize  them  free  from  the  interference 
of  the  power  of  Kentucky  neutrality.  That  is  a  fact  in  history, 
and  I  can  not  overlook  it,  when  gentlemen  here  arraign  the 
President  of  the  United  States  because  he  has  seen  fit  to  suspend 
the  privilege  of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  in  the  State  of 
Kentucky." 

"  Let  us  see,"  said  Mr.  Grinnell,  in  a  subsequent  part  of  his 
speech,  "  what  are  the  laws  of  Kentucky  which  are  so  just  and 


154  THE  -THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

honorable  and  equitable.  The  white  man  in  Kentucky  can  testify 
in  the  courts;  the  black  man  can  testify  against  himself.  The 
white  man  can  vote;  the  black  man  can  not.  The  white  man, 
if  he  commits  an  offense,  is  tried  by  a  jury  of  his  peers;  the 
black  man  is  tried  by  his  enlightened,  unprejudiced  superiors. 
The  rape  of  a  negro  woman  by  a  white  man  is  no  offense ;  the 
rape  of  a  white  woman  by  a  negro  man  is  punishable  by  death, 
and  the  Governor  of  the  State  can  not  commute. 

"  A  white  man  may  come  into  Kentucky  when  he  pleases ;  the 
free  negro  who  comes  there  is  ^i  felon,  though  a  discharged  sol- 
dier, and  wounded  in  our  battles.  A  white  man  in  Kentucky 
may  keep  a  gun ;  if  a  black  man  buys  a  gun  he  forfeits  it,  and 
pays  a  fine  of  five  dollars  if  presuming  to  keep  in  his  possession 
a  musket  which  he  has  carried  through  the  war.  Arson  of  public 
buildings,  if  committed  by  a  white  man,  is  punished  by  imprison- 
ment in  the  penitentiary  for  a  term  of  from  seven  to  twenty-one 
years;  if  committed  by  a  black  man,  the  punishment  is  death. 
Arson  of  a  warehouse,  etc.,  when  committed  by  a  white  man,  is 
punished  by  imprisonment  in  the  penitentiary  from  one  to  six 
years;   when  committed  by  a  negro,  the  penalty  is  death. 

"  If-  a  white  man  is  guilty  of  insurrection  or  rebellion,  he'  is 
punished  by  being  called  f  chivalrous.'  I  instance  the  rebel 
General  Forest,  who  murdered  white  men  at  Fort  Pillow,  and  is 
reputed  the  most  popular  man  South.  If  a  negro  rebels,  or  con-, 
spires  to  rebel,  he  is  punished  with  death.     These  are  specimens." 

Referring  to  the  benefits  conferred  by  the  Freedinen's  Bureau 
upon  Kentucky,  Mr.  Grinnell  remarked :  "  As  it  is  asserted  that 
this  Freednien's  Bureau  is  a  partial,  unnecessary,  speculating 
affair,  I  wish  to  call  attention  to  the  fact  that  in  the  State  of 
Kentucky,  during  the  last  five  months,  more  white  refugees  than 
freedmen,  in  the  proportion  of  seven  and  one-fourth  to  one,  have 
received  rations  at  the  hands  of  the  Government;  that  this 
bureau  has  kept  in  schools  in  the  State  of  Kentucky  fourteen 
thousand  black  people. 

In  further  illustration  of  the  work  accomplished  by  this  in- 
strumentality, he  said:  "This  bureau  is  in  charge  of  800,000 
acres  of  land  and  1,500  pieces  of  town  property.  It  has  issued 
more  than  600,000  rations  to  refugees,  and  3,500,000  to  freed- 
men. It  has  treated  2,500  refugees  in  hospitals,  and  decently 
buried  227  of  them.     It  has  treated  45,000  freedmen,  and  made 


THE  FREEDMEN.  155 

the  graves  for  6,000  of  the  number.  Transportation  has  been 
furnished  to  1,700  refugees  and  1,900  freedmen.  In  the  schools 
there  are  80,000  people  that  have  been  instructed  by  this  bureau. 
And  now  it  is  proposed  to  leave  all  these'  children  of  misfortune 
to  the  tender  mercies  of  a  people  of  whom  it  is  true  by  the 
Spanish  maxim,  '  Since  I  have  wronged  you  I  have  hated  you.' 
I  never  can.  Our  authority  to  take  care  of  them  is  founded  in 
the  Constitution;  else  it  is  not  worthy  to  be  our  great  charter. 
It  gives  authority  to  feed  Indian  tribes,  though  our  enemies,  and 
a  just  interpretation  can  not  restrain  us  in  clothing  and  feeding 
unfortunate  friends.  In  providing  schools,  we  can  turn  to  the 
same  authority  which  led  to  the  gift  of  millions  of  acres  of  the 
public  domain  for  the  purpose  of  establishing  agricultural  colleges 
in  this  country." 

He  referred  to  Russia  for  example  of  what  should  be  done  in 
such  an  emergency:  "We  should  be  worse  than  barbarians  to 
leave  these  people  where  they  arc,  landless,  poor,  unprotected ; 
and  I  commend  to  gentlemen  who  still  cling  to  the  delusion  that 
all  is  well,  to  take  lessons  of  the  Czar  of  the  K-ussias,  who,  when 
he  enfranchised  his  people,  gave  them  lands  and  school-houses, 
and  invited  school-masters  from  all  the  world  to  come  there  and 
instruct  them.  Let  us  hush  our  national  songs;  rather  gird  on4 
sack-cloth,  if  wanting  in  moral  courage  to  reap  the  fruits  of  our 
•  war  by  being  just  and  considerate  to  those  who  look  up  to  us  for 
temporary  counsel  and  protection.  Care  and  education  are 
cheaper  for  the  nation  than  neglect,  and  nothing  is  plainer  in, 
the  counsels  of  heaven  or  the  world's  history." 

An  allusion  made  by  Mr.  Grinnell  to  the  speech  of  Mr.  Eos- 
seau,  provoked  the  personal  assault  to  be  described  hereafter. 

Mr.  Raymond  having  the  floor  for  a  personal  explanation,  took 
occasion  to  make  the  following  remarks  in  reference  to  the  bill: 
"  I  have  no  apprehensions  as  to  the  practical  workings  of  this 
law.  So  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  collect  information  from  all 
quarters — and  I  have  taken  some  pains  to  do  so — I  find  that  this 
.  law,  like  most  other  laws  on  our  statute  books,  works  well  where 
'  it  is  well  ^administered.  The  practical  operations  of  this  bureau 
will  depend  upon  the  character  of  the  agents  into  whose  hands  its 
management  is  intrusted.  I  certainly  have  no  apprehension  in 
this  respect.  I  do  not  for  one  moment  fear  that  iSe  agents  who 
will  be  appointed  to  carry  this  law  into  execution  will  not  use  the 


156  THE  THIBTF-NIJYTH  CONGRESS. 

powers  conferred  upon  them  for  the  furtherance  of  the  great  object 
which  we  all  have  in  view — the  reconciliation,  the  "protection,  the 
security  of  all  classes  of  those  who  are  now  our  fellow-citizens  in 
the  Southern  States." 

Mr.  Phelps,  of  Maryland,  made  a  speech  indorsing  the  prin- 
ciple of  the  bill,  but  objecting  to  some  of  its  details.  His  objec- 
tions were  removed  by  the  presentation  and  acceptance  of  the 
following  amendment  by  Mr.  Shellabarger,  of  Ohio :  "  No  person 
shall  be  deemed  destitute,  suffering,  or  dependent  upon  the  Gov- 
ernment for  support,  within  the  meaning  of  this  act,  who,  being 
able  to  find  _  employment,  could,  by  proper  industry  and  exertion, 
avoid  such  destitution,  suffering   and  dependence." 

Mr.  Chanler  made  a  long  speech  in  opposition  to  the  bill.  He 
gave  particular  attention  to  the  speech  of  Mr.  Donnelly,  of  Min- 
nesota, who  had  advocated  education  as  a  necessity  for  the 
South.  "The  malignant  party  spirit  and  sectional  hate,"  said 
Mr.  Chanler,  "that  runs  through  this  whole  statement,  needs 
no  illustration."  .  After  presenting  voluminous  extracts  from 
speeches,  letters,  and  public  documents,  Mr.  Chanler  summed  up 
his  objections  to  the  bill  in  the  following  words :  "  Our  people 
are  not  willing  to  live  under  military  rule. 

"This  bureau  is  under  military  rule.  It  proposes  to  per- 
petuate and  strengthen  itself  by  the  present  bill.  * 

"It  founds  an  ' imperium  in  imperio'  to  protect  black  labor 
against  white  labor. 

.     "  It  excludes  the  foreign  immigrant  from  the  lands  given  to  the 
native-born  negro. 

"  It  subjects  the  white  native-born  citizen  to  the  ignominy  of 
surrendering  his  patrimony,  his  self-respect,  and  his  right  to  labor 
into  the  hands  of  negroes,  idle,  ignorant,  and  misled  by  fanatic, 
selfish  speculators." 

Mr.  Stevens  desired  to  amend  the  bill  by  striking  out  the  lim- 
itation to  three  years  given  the  possessory  titles  conferred  by  Gen- 
eral Sherman,  and  rendering  them  perpetual.  This  amendment 
the  House  were  unwilling  to  accept.  Mr.  Stevens  further  pro- 
posed to  strike  out  the  proviso  "  unless  as  punishment.for  crime, 
whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,"  giving  as  a 
reason  for  this  amendment,  "  I  know  that  men  are  convicted  of 
assault  and  baftery,  and  sentenced  to  slavery  down  there.     I  have 


THE  FEEEDMEjY.  157 

authentic  evidence  of  that  fact  in  several  letters,  and,  therefore,  I 
propose  to  strike  out  those  wo■ds.,, 

This  amendment  was  adopted.  Another  important  amendment 
proposed  by  the  committee  was  the  limitation  of  the  operation  of 
the  1*111  to  States  in  which  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  was  sus- 
pended  on  the  1st  of  February,  1866.  Mr.  Eliot  closed  the  de- 
bate by  answering  BOriie  objections  to -the  bill,  and  presenting  some 
official  documents  proving  the  beneficent  results  of  the  bureau, 
especially  in  the  State  of  Kentucky. 

On  the  6th  of  February  the  question  was  taken,  and  the  bill 
■  I  by  the  following  vote: 

Seas — Messrs.  Alley,  Allison,  Aim's,  Anderson,  Deloa  R.  Ashley,- James 
M  Ashley,  Baker,  Baldwin,  Haul;-.  Barker,  Baxter,  Beaman,  Benjamin, 
Bidwell,  Bingham,  Blaine,  Blow,  Boutwell,  Brandegee,  Bromwell,  Broomajl, 
Bandy,  Reader  W.  Clarke,  Sidney  Clarke,  Cohh,  Conkling,  Cook,  Cullom, 
Darling  Davis  Dawes,  l>efrces,  Delano,  Doming,  Dixon,  I'onnelly,  Driggs, 
Dumont,  Eckley,  Eggleston,  Eliot,  Farnsworth,  Earquhar,  Ferry,  Garfield, 
GrinnelL  Griswold,  Bale,  Abner  •'.  Earding,  Bart,  Hayes,  Henderson, 
Higby,  Bill,  Holmes,  Boopw,  Botchkiss,  A-ah.-I  W.  Bubbard,  Chester  J). 
Bubbard,  Demas  Bubbard,  John  II.  Bubbard,  James  B.  Bubbell,  James 
Bumphrey,  [ngersoll,  Jenckes,  Julian,  Kasson,  Kclley,  Kelso,  Kctcham, 
KuykendalL  Laflin,  Latham,  George  V.  Lawrence,  William  Lawrence,  Loan, 
Longycar,  Lynch,  Marston,  Marvin,  McClurg,  Mclndoe,  McKee,  McRuer, 
Mereur,  Miller,  Moorhead,  Morrill,  Morris,  Moulton,  Myers,  Newell,  O'Neill, 
Orth,  Paine,  Patterson,  Perham,  Phelps,  Pike,  Plants,  Pomeroy,  Price,  Wil- 
liam II.  Randall,  Kaymond,  Alexander  II.  Pice,  John  H.  Rice,  Rollins, 
Sawyer,  Schenck,  Scofield,  Shellabargcr,  Smith,  Spalding,  Starr,  Stevens, 
Stilwell,  Thayer,  Francis  Thomas,  John  L.  Thomas,  Trowbridge,  Upson, 
Van  Aernam,  Burt  Van  Horn,  Robert  T.  Van  Horn,  Ward,  Warner, 
Elihu  1!.  Washburne,  William  B.  Washburn,  Welker,  Wentworth,  Whaley, 
Williams,  James  F.  Wilson,  Stephen  F.  Wilson,  Windom,  and  Wood- 
bridge. — 136. 

Nats — Messrs.  Boyer,  Brooks,  Chanler,  Dawson,  Eldridge,  Finck,  Gloss- 
brenner,  Grider,  Aaron  Harding,  Harris,  Ilogan,  Edwin  X.  Ilubbell,  James 
M.  Humphrey,  Kerr,  Le  Blond,  Marshall,  McCullough,  Niblack,  Nicholson, 
Nocll,  Samuel  J.  Randall,  Ritter,  Rogers,  Ross,  Rosseau,  Shanklin,  Sit- 
greaves,  Strouse,  Taber,  Taylor,  Thornton,  Trimble,  and  Wright — 33. 

Not  Voting — Messrs.  Ancona,  Bergen,  Buckland,  Culver,  Denison,'  Good- 
year, Hulburd,  Johnson,  Jones,  Radford,  Sloan,  Voorhees,  and  Winfield — 13. 


158  TEE  TEIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER    VIII. 
» 

THE  SENATE  AND  THE  VETO  MESSAGE. 

Mr.  Trumbull  on  the  amendments  of  the  House — Mr.  Guthrie  exhibits 
feeling  —  Mr.  Sherman's  deliberate  conclusion  —  Mr.  Henderson's 
sovereign  remedy  —  Mr.  Trumbull  on    patent   medicines  —  Mr.    Mc- 

DoUGALL   A  WHITE   MAN — Mr.    ReVERDY   JOHNSON   ON   THE   POWER    TO    PASS 

the  bill — Concurrence  of  the  House — The  Veto  Message — Mr.  Lane, 
of  Kansas— His  efforts  for  delay — Mr.  Garrett  Davis — Mr.  Trum- 
bull's reply  to  the  President — The  question  taken — Yeas  and  nays — 
Failure  of  passage. 

ON  tlie  7th  of  February  the  amendments  of  the  House  to  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  were  presented  to  the  Senate,  and 
referred  to  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary. 

On  the  following  day  Mr.  Trumbull,  chairman  of  this  commit- 
tee, reported  certain  amendments  to  the  amendments  made  by  the 
House  of  Eepresentatives.  Mr.  Trumbull  said  :  "  The  House  of 
Representatives  have  adopted  a  substitute  for  the  whole  bill,  but 
it  is  the  Senate  bill  verbatim,  with  a  few  exceptions,  which  I  will 
endeavor  to  point  out.  The  title  of  the  bill  has  been  changed,  to 
begin  with.  It  was  called  as  it  passed  the  Senate  '  A  bill  to  en- 
large the  powers  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau.'  The  House  has 
amended  the  title  so  as  to  make  it  read,  '  A  bill  to  amend  an  act 
entitled  "  An  act  to  establish  a  Bureau  for  the  Relief  of  Freedmen 
and  Refugees,"  and  for  other  purposes.'  Of  course,  there  is  no 
importance  in  that. 

"  The*  first  amendment  which  the  House  has  made,  and  the 
most  important  one,  will  be  found  to  commence  in  the  eighth  line 
of  the  first  section.  The  House  has  inserted  words  limiting  the 
operation  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  to  those  sections  of  country 
within  which  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  was  suspended  on  the  1st 
day  of  February,  1866.     As  the  bill  passed  the  Senate,  it  will  be 


THE  FREEDMEN.  159 

• 
remembered  that  it  extended  to  refugees  and  freedmen  in  all  parts 
of  the  United  States,  and  the  President  was  authorized  to  divide 
the  section  of  country  containing  such  refugees  and  freedmen  into 
districts.  The  House  amend  that  so  as  to  authorize  the  President 
to  divide  the  section  of  country  within  which  the  privilege  of  the 
writ  of  habeas  corpus  was  suspended  on  the  1st  day  of  February, 
1866,  containing  such  refugees  and  freedmen,  into  districts.  The 
writ  of  habeas  corpus  on  the  1st  day  of  February  last  was  sus- 
pended in  the  late  rebellious  States,  including  Kentucky,  and  in 
none  other.  The  writ  of  habeas  corpus  was  restored  by  the  Presi- 
dent's proclamation  in  Maryland,  in  Delaware,  and  in  Missouri, 
all  of  which'  have  been  slaveholding  States. 

"As  the  bill  passed  the  Senate,  it  will  be  observed  it  only  ex- 
tended to  refugees  and  freedmen  in  the  United  States,  wherever 
they  might  be,  and  the  President  was  authorized  to  divide  the 
region  of  country  containing  such  refugees  and  freedmen,  and  it 
had  no  operation  except  in  States  where  there  were  refugees  and 
freedmen.  The  House  has  limited  it  so  that  it  will  not  have 
operation  in  Maryland,  or  Delaware,  or  Missouri,  or  any  of  the 
Northern  States." 

After  Mr.  Trumbull  had  stated  the  other  and  less  important 
amendments  made  by  the  House,  the  Senate  proceeded  to  consider 
the  amendments  proposed  by  the  Judiciary  Committee,  the  •  first 
of  which  was  to  strike  out  the  words  "  within  Avhich  the  privileges 
of  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  was  suspended  on  the  1st  day  of  Feb- 
ruary, 1866." 

Mr.  Trumbull  said :  "  I  wish  to  say  upon  that  point  that  the 
bill  as  it  passed  the.  Senate  can  have  no  operation  except  in  regions 
of  country  where  there  are  refugees  and  freedmen.  It  is  confined 
to  those  districts  of  country,  and  it  could  not  have  operation  in 
most  of  the  loyal  States.  But  it  is  desirable,  as  I  am  informed, 
and  it  was  so  stated  by  one  of  the  Senators  from  Maryland,  that 
the  operations  of  this  bill  should  be  extended  to  Maryland.  It 
may  be  necessary  that  it  should  be  extended  to  Missouri,  and 
possibly  to  Delaware.  I  trust  not ;  but  the  authority  to  extend 
it  there  ought  to  exist,  if  there  should  be  occasion  for  it.  The 
only  objection  I  have  to  limiting  the  operation  of  the  bill  to  .the 
late  slaveholding  States  is,  that  I  think  it  bad  legislation,  when 
we  are  endeavoring  to  break  down  discrimination  and  distinction, 
to  pass  a  law  which  is  to  operate  in  one  State  of  the  Union  and 


160  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

• 
not  in  another.  I  would  rather  that  the. law  should  be  general, 
although  I  am  fully  aware  that  there  is  nothing  for  the  law  to 
operate  upon  in  most  of  the  States  of  the  Union.  I  do  not  feel 
quite  willing  to  vote  upon  Kentucky,  for  instance,  a  law  that  I 
am  not  willing  to  have  applicable  to  the  State  of  Illinois,  if  such 
a  state  of  facts  exists  as  that  the  law  can  operate  in  Illinois.  I 
prefer,  therefore,  to  have  the  bill  in  the  shape  in  which  it  passed 
the  Senate,  and  such  was  the  opinion  of  the  Committee  on  the 
Judiciary." 

Mr.  Guthrie,  of  Kentucky,  spoke  with  much  feeling  upon  the 
bearings  of  the  bureau  upon  his  State:  "You  will  have  to  ac- 
knowledge these  States  or  you  will  have  to  do  worse.  The 
passage  of  this  system  of  bills  is  a  dissolution  of  the  Union,  and 
you  can  not  help  it.  It  will  be  impossible  for  you  to  carry  on 
this  Government  under  any  such  system.  When  the  Union  is  not 
to  be  restored,  when  there  is  nothing  of  that  feeling  to  make  the 
people  endure,  do  you  suppose  they  will  endure  forever?  Do  you 
suppose  this  bill  will  attach  the  people  in  these  eleven  States  more 
thoroughly  to  the  Union  than  they  felt  when  they  reorganized 
their  State  governments,  passed  laws  manumitting  their  slaves, 
electing  their  .Legislatures,  and  doing  all  that  was  indicated  as 
necessary  to  be  done  ?  Do  you  suppose  that  there  will  ever  come 
a  time,  under  this  bill,  that  they  will  desire  to  become  members 
of  this  Union  once  more?  I  see  in  this  bill  exactly  how  Ken- 
tucky is  tolerated  here;  for  as  to  having  part  in  this  legislation, 
when  she  is  charged  openly  with  being'  ruled  at  home  by  rebels, . 
our  counsels  can  be  of  no  good  here;  but  still  we  are  not  to  be 
driven  from  the  Union,  and  from  raising  our  voice  in  favor  of  it, 
and  raising  it  in  favor  of  conciliation  and  confidence  from  one 
section  to  the  other.  Gentlemen  do  not  get  these  doctrines  of 
hatred  and  vengeance  from  the  Gospel.  These  are  not  the  doc- 
trines taught  by  the  Savior  of  the  world.  While  you  cry  for 
justice  to  the  African,  you  are  not  slow  to  commit  wrong  and 
outrage  on  the  white  race. 

"Sir,  there  were  rebels  in  all  the  States,  and  will  be  again 
if  you  drive  these  people  to  desperation.  The  Senator  from 
Massachusetts,  if  I  understood  his  language  aright,  threatened  us 
with  war  or  worse  if  we  did  not  yield  to  his  suggestions,  and  the 
Senator  from  Indiana  intimated  very  strongly  the  same  thing. 
You  have  strength  enough  to  carry  these  measures,  if  it  is  the 


THE  EEEEDMEJV.  161 

sentiment  of  the  nation;  but  we  are  not  a  people  to  be  alarmed 
by  words  or  threats." 

Mr.  Sherman  had  been,  as  he  said,  "  during  this  whole  debate, 
rather  a  spectator  than  a  participant."  Not  desiring  to  commit 
himself  too  hastily,  he  had  reserved  his  opinion  that  he  might 
let  and  vote  understanding^-,  without  feeling,  or  prejudice,  or 
passion.  It  was  after  full  reflection  that  he  voted  for  the  bill  so 
(  harshly  characterized  by  the  Senator  from  Kentucky,  who  had 
evinced  a  degree  of  feeling  entirely  uncalled  for.  Mr.  Sherman 
said  further:  "I  look  upon  the  Freedman's  Bureau  Bill  as  sim- 
ply a  temporary  protection  to  the  freedmen  in  the  Southern  States. 
We  are  bound  by  every  consideration  of  honor,  by  every  obliga- 
tion that  can  rest  on  any  people,  to  protect  the  freedmen  from 
the  rebels  of  the  Southern  States;  ay,  sir,  and  to  protect  them 
from  the  loyal  men  of  the  Southern  States.  We  know  that,  'on 
account  of  the  prejudices  instilled  by  the  system  of  slavery  per- 
vading all  parts  of  the  Southern  States,  the  Southern  people  will 
not  do  justice  to  the  freedmen  of  those  States.  We  know  that  in 
the  course  of  the  war  the  freedmen  have  been  emancipated ;  that 
they  have  aided  us  in  this  conflict ;  and,  therefore,  we  are  bound, 
by  every  consideration  of  honor,  faith,  and  of  public  morals,  to 
protect  and  maintain  all  the  essential  incidents  of  freedom  to  them. 
I  have  no  doubt  that  in  doing  this  we  shall  encounter  the  preju- 
dices not  only  of  rebels,  but  of  loyal  men ;  but  still  the  obligation 
and  guarantee  is  none  the  less  binding  on  us.  We  must  maintain 
their  freedom,  and  with  it  all  the  incidents  and  all  the  rights  of 
freedom." 

Mr.  Henderson,  of  Missouri,  like  the  Senator  from  Ohio,  had 
hitherto  taken  no  part  in  the  discussion.  He  was  opposed  to  the 
limitations  placed  upon  the  bill  by  the  House  of  Eepresentatives. 
"  I  would  not  have  voted  for  it  if  it  had  not  beene  carried  to  my 
own  State ;  and  if  this  amendment  of  the  House  of  Eepresenta- 
tives is  to  be  adopted,  I  will  not  vote  for  the  bill.  I  want  the 
bill  to  be  made  general.  If  it  is  to  be  made  special,  if  it  is  to  be 
applied  to  Kentucky  only,  I  appreciate  the  feeling  that  drove  my 
friend  from  Kentucky  to  make  the  most  unfortunate  lemark  that 
has  been  made  upon  the  floor  of  the  Senate  since  1861.  I  sin- 
cerely hope,  for  the  good  of  the  country,  that  the  distinguished 
Senator  may  see  fit  to  take  back  what  he  said  a  few  moments  ago. 
"  Sir,  we  have  had  enough  of  disunion.  I  hope  that  no  Senator 
11 


162  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

in  the  future  will  rise  upon  this  floor  and  talk,  under  any  circum- 
stances whatever,  of  another  war  of  rebellion  against  the  consti- 
tuted authorities  of  this  country.  My  God !  are  we  again  to  pass 
through  the  scenes  of  blood  through  which  we  have  passed  for  the 
last  four  years  ?  Are  we  to  have  this  war  repeated  ?  No  Freed- 
men's  Bureau  Bill,  no  bill  for  the  protection  of  the  rights  of  any 
body,  shall  ever  drive  me  to  dream  of  such  a  thing." 

Mr.  Henderson  thought  a  better  protection  for  the  negro  than  . 
the  Freedmen's  Bureau  would  be  the  ballot.  He  said :  "  I  live 
in  a  State  that  was  a  slaveholding  State  until  last  January  a  year 
ao-o.  I  have  been  a  slaveholder  all  my  life  until  tke  day  when 
the  ordinance  of  emancipation  was  passed  in  my  State.  I  advo- 
cated  it,  and  have  advocated  emancipation  for  the  last  four  years, 
at  least  since  this  war  commenced.  Do  you  want  to  know  how 
to  protect  the  freedmen  of  the  Southern  States?  This  bill  is  use- 
less for  that  purpose.  It  is  not  the  intention  of  the  honorable 
Senators  on  this  floor  from  Northern  States,  who  favor  this  bill, 
to  send  military  men  to  plunder  the  good  people  of  Kentucky. 
It  is  an  attempt  to  enforce  this  moral  and  religious  sentiment  of 
the  people  of  the  Northern  States.  Sir,  these  freedmen  will  be 
protected.  The  decree  of  Almighty  God  has  gone  forth,  as  it 
went  forth  in  favor  of  their  freedom  originally,  that  they  shall  be 
endowed  with  all  the  rights  that  belong  to  other  men.  Will  you 
protect  them?  Give  them  the  ballot,  Mr.  President,  and  then 
they  are  protected." 

In  reference  to  the  remarks  by  Mr.  Henderson,  Mr.  Trumbull 
said :  "  The  zeal  of  my  friend  from  Missouri  seems  to  have  run 
away  with  him.  Having  come  from  being  a  slaveholder  to  the 
position  of  advocating  universal  negro  suffrage  as  the  sovereign 
remedy  for  every  thing,  he  manifests  a  degree  of  zeal  which  I 
have  only  seen  equaled,  I  confess,  by  some  of  the  dicoverers  of 
patent  medicines  who  have  found  a  grand  specific  to  cure  all  dis- 
eases !  Why,  he  says  this  bureau  is  of  no  account ;  give  the  negro 
the  ballot,  and  that  will  stop  him  from  starving;  that  will  feed 
him ;  that  will  educate  him !  You  have  got  on  your  hands  to- 
day one  hundred  thousand  feeble,  indigent,  infirm  colored  popu- 
lation that  would  starve  and  die  if  relief  were  not  afforded ;  and 
the  Senator  from  Missouri  tells  you,  'This  is  all  nonsense;  give 
them  the  right  of  suffrage,  and  that  is  all  they  want.'  This  to 
feed  the  hungry  and  clothe  the  naked !     He  has  voted  for  these 


THE  FREEDMEN.  163 

bill-;  but  if  you  will  only  just  give  the  right  of  suffrage,  you  do 
not  want  to  take  care  of  any  starving  man,  any  orphan  child, 
any  destitute  and  feeble  person  that  can  not  take  care  of  himself! 
It  i-  the  most  sovereign  reined}-  that  I  have  heard  of  since  the 
days  ofTownsend's  Sar-aparilla." 

I.'.  ferring  to  the  feeling  manifested  by  Mr.  Guthrie,  Mr.  Trum- 
bull Baid:  "God  forbid  that  I  should  put  a  degradation  on  the 
people  of  Kentucky.  I  never  thought  of  such  a  thing.  I  would 
sooner  cut  off  my  right  hand  than  do  such  a  thing.  What  is  it 
that  ao  excites  and  inflames  the  mind  of  the  Senator  from  Ken- 
tucky  that  he  talk-  about  the  degradation  that  is  to  be  put  upon 
her,  the  plunder  of  her  people,  the  injustice  that  is  to  be  done 
her  inhabitants?  Why,  -ir,  a  bill  to  help  the  people  of  Ken- 
tucky  to  tal.e  care  of  the  destitute  negroes,  made  free  without 
any  property  whatever,  without  the  means  of  support,  left  to 
starve  and  to  die  unless  somebody  cares  for  them;  and  we  pro- 
pose  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States  to  help  to  do  it.  Is 
that  a  degradation?  I-  that  an  injustice?  I-  that  the  way  to 
roll  a  people? " 

Mr.  McDougall  having  subsequently  obtained  the  floor,  made 
the  remark:  "  I,  being  a  white  man,  say  for  the  white  men  and 
white  women  that  they  will  take  care  Of  themselves.  This  bill 
was  not  made  for  white  women  or  white  men,  or  white  to  en  and 
women's  children." 

This  brought  out  the  following  statistical  statement  from  Mr. 
Trumbull:  "I  have  before  me  the  official  report,  which  shows 
the  consolidated  number  of  rations  issued  in  the  different  districts 
and  States  during  the  month  of  June,  July,  August,  September, 
and  October,  1865.  In  June  there  were  issued  to  refugees  three 
hundred  and  thirteen  thousand  six  hundred  and  twenty-seven  ra- 
tions, and  thirty  six  thousand  one  hundred  and  eighty-one  to 
freedmen.  In  August,  in  Kentucky  and  Tennessee,  there  were 
issued  to  refugees  eighty-seven  thousand  one  hundred  and  eighty 
rations,  and  to  freedmen  eighty-seven  thousand  one  hundred  and 
ninety-five — almost  an  equality." 

Mr.  Johnson,  of  Maryland  remarked :  "  The  object  of  the  bill 
is  a  very  correct  one;  these  people  should  be  taken  care  of;  and 
as  it  is  equally  applicable  to  the  whites  and  to  the  blacks,  and 
the  whites  in  many  of  the  States  requiring  as  much  protection  as 
the  blacks,  I  would  very  willingly  vote  for  the  bill  if  I  thought 


164  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

we  had  the  power  to  pass  it;  but  on  the  question  of  power  I 
have  no  disposition  now  or  perhaps  at  any  time  in  the  present 
stage  of  the  bill  to  trouble  the  Senate." 

The  bill  soon  after  jiassed  the  Senate  as  amended  in  the  House, 
and  reamended  in  the  Senate,  by  a  vote  of  twenty-nine  to  seven. 

On  the  following  day,  the  amendments  of  the  Senate  were  con- 
curred in  by  the  House  without  debate,  and  the  Freedmen's  Bu- 
reau Bill  was  ready  to  be  submitted  to  the  Executive. 

Ten  day's  after  the  final  passage  of  the  bill,  the  President  sent 
to  the  Senate  a  message,  "with  his  objection  thereto  in  writing." 

The  Senate  immediately  suspended  other  business  to  hear  the 
Veto  Message,  which  was  read  by  the  Secretary,  as  follows: 

l'To  the  Senate  of  the  United  States: 

"I  have  examined  with  care  the  bill  which  originated  in  the  Senate,  and 
has  been  passed  by  the  two  houses  of  Congress,  to  amend  an  act  entitled 
'An  act  to  establish  a  Bureau  for  the  relief  of  Freedmen  and  Kefugees,' 
and  for  other  purposes.  Having,  with  much  regret,  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  it  would  not  be  consistent  with  the  public  welfare  to  give  my  approval 
to  the  measure,  I  return  the  bill  to  the  Senate  with  my  objections  to  its  be- 
coming a  law. 

"I  might  call  to  mind,  in  advance  of  these  objections,  that  there  is  no  im- 
mediate necessity  for  the  proposed  measure.  The  act  to  establish  a  Bureau 
for  the  relief  of  Freedmen  and  Refugees,  which  was  approved  in  the  month 
of  March  last,  has  not  yet  expired.  It  was  thought  stringent  and  extensive 
enough  for  the  purpose  in  view  in  time  of  war.  Before  it  ceases  to  have 
effect,  further  experience  may  assist  to  guide  us  to  a  wise  conclusion  as  to 
the  policy  to  be  adopted  in  time  of  peace. 

"  I  share  with  Congress  the  strongest  desire  to  secure  to  the  freedmen 
the  full  enjoyment  of  their  freedom  and  property,  and  their  entire  indepen- 
dence and  equality  in  making  contracts  for  their  labor;  but  the  bill  before 
me  contains  provisions  which,  in  my  opinion,  are  not  warranted  by  the  Con- 
stitution, and  are  not  well  suited  to  accomplish  the  end  in  view. 

"The  bill  proposes  to  establish  by  authority  of  Congress,  military  juris- 
diction over  all  parts  of  the  United  States  containing  refugees  and  freedmen. 
It  would,  by  its  very  nature,  apply  with  most  force  to  those  parts  of  the 
United  States  in  which  the  freedmen  most  abound ;  and  it  expressly  extends 
the  existing  temporary  jurisdiction  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  with  greatly 
enlarged  powers,  over  those  States  'in  which  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial 
proceeding,  has  been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion.'  The  source  from  which 
this  military  jurisdiction  is  to  emanate  is  none  other  than  the  President  of 
the  United  States,  acting  through  the  War  Department  and  the  commissioner 
of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau.  The  agents  to  carry  out  this  military  jurisdic- 
tion are  to  be  selected  either  from  the  army  or  from  civil  life ;  the  country 
is  to  be  divided  into  districts  and  sub-districts ;  and  the  number  of  salaried 


THE  FREEDMEN.  165 

agents  to  be  employed  may  be  equal  to  the  number  of  counties  or  parishes 
in  all  the  United  States  where  freedmen  and  refugees  are  to  be  found. 

"The  subjects  over  which  this  military  jurisdiction  is  to  extend  in  every 
part  of  the  United  States  include  protection  to  'all  employes,  agents,  and 
officers  of  this  bureau  in  the  exercise  of  the  duties  imposed '  upon  them  by 
the  bill.  In  eleven  States  it  is  further  to  extend  over  all  cases  affecting 
freedmen  and  refugees  discriminated  against  'by  local  law,  custom,  or  .prej- 
udice.' In  those  eleven  States  the  bill  subjects  any  white  person  who  may 
be  charged  with  depriving  a  freedman  of  '  any  civil  rights  or  immunities 
belonging  to  white  persons '  to  imprisonment  or  fine,  or  both,  without,  how- 
ever, defining  the  '  civil  rights  and  immunities '  which  are  thus  to  be  secured 
to  the  freedmen  by  military  law.  This  military  jurisdiction  also  extends  to 
all  questions  that  may  arise  respecting  contracts.  The  agent  who  is  thus  to 
exercise  the  office  of  a  military  judge  may  be  a  stranger,  entirely  ignorant 
of  the  laws  of  the  place,  and  exposed  to  the  errors  of  judgment  to  which  all 
men  are  liable.  The  exercise  of  power,  over  which  there  is  no  legal  super- 
vision, by  so  vast  a  number  of  agents  as  is  contemplated  by  the  bill,  must, 
by  the  very-nature  of  man,  be  attended  by  acts  of  caprice,  injustice,  and 
passion. 

"The  trials,  having  their  origin  under  this  bill,  are  to  take  place  without 
the  intervention  of  a  jury,  and  without  any  fixed  rules  of  law  or  evidence. 
The  rules  on  which  offenses  are  to  be  '  heard  and  determined '  by  the  nu- 
merous agents,  are  such  rules  and  regulations  as  the  President,  through  the 
War  Department,  shall  prescribe.  Fo  previous  presentment  is  required, 
nor  any  indictment  charging  the  commission  of  a  crime  against  the  laws ; 
but  the  trial  must  proceed  on  charges  and  specifications.  The  punishment 
will  be,  not  what  the  law  declares,  but  such  as  a  court-martial  may  think 
proper;  and  from  these  arbitrary  tribunals  there  lies  no  appeal,  no  writ  of 
error  to  any  of  the  courts  in  which  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States 
vests  exclusively  the  judicial  power  of  the  country. 

"While  the  territory  and  the  classes  of  actions  and  offenses  that  are  made 
subject  to  this  measure  are  so  extensive,  the  bill  itself,  should  it  become  a 
law,  will  have  no  limitation  in  point  of  time,  but  will  form  a  part  of  the 
permanent  legislation  of  the  country.'  I  can  not  reconcile  a  system  of  mili- 
•tary  jurisdiction  of  this  kind  with  the  words  of  the  Constitution,  which  de- 
clare that  'no  person  shall  be  held  to  answer  for  a  capital  or  otherwise 
infamous  crime  unless  upon  a  presentment  or  indictment  of  a  grand  jury, 
except  in  cases  arising  in  the  land  and  naval  forces,  or  in  the  militia  when 
in  actual  service  in  time  of  war  or  public  danger ; '  and  that  '  in  all  crim- 
inal prosecutions  the  accused  shall  enjoy  the  right  to  a  speedy  and  public 
trial,  by  an  impartial  jury  of  the  State  or  district  wherein  the  crime  shall 
have  been  committed.'  The  safeguards  which  the  experience  and  wisdom 
of  ages  taught  our  fathers  to  establish  a^s  securities  for  the  protection  of  the 
innocent,  the  punishment  of  the  guilty,  and  the  equal  administration  of 
justice,  are  to  be  set  aside,  and  for  the  sake  of  a  more  vigorous  interposition 
in  behalf  of  justice,  we  are  to  take  the  risk  of  the  many  acts  of  injustice 
that  would  necessarily  follow  from  an  almost  countless  number  of  agents 
established  in  every  parish  or  county  in  nearly  a  third  of  the  States  of  the 


166  THE  THIBTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Union  over  whose  decisions  there  is  to  be  no  supervision  or  control  by  the 
Federal  courts.  The  power  that  would  be  thus  placed  in  the  hands  of  the 
President  is  such  as  in  time  of  peace-  certainly  ought'  never  to  be  intrusted 
to  any  one  man.  _   • 

"If  it  be  asked  whether  the  creation  of  such  a  tribunal  within  a  State  is 
warranted  as  a  measure  of  war,  the  question  immediately  presents  itself 
whether  we  are  still  engaged  in  war.  Let  us  not  unnecessarily  disturb  the 
commerce  and  credit  and  industry  of  the  country  by  declaring  to  the  Amer- 
ican people  and  to  the  world,  that  the  United  States  are  still  in  a  condition 
of  civil  war.  At  present  there  is  no  part  of  our  country  in  which  ijie  au- 
thority of  the  United  States  is  disputed.  Offenses  that  may  be  committed 
by  individuals  should  not  work  a-  forfeiture  of  the  rights  of  whole  commu- 
nities. The  country  has  returned,  or  is  returning,  to  a  state  of  peace  and 
industry,  and  the  rebellion  is  in  fact  at  an  end.  The  measure,  therefore, 
seems  to  be  as  inconsistent  with  the  actual  condition  of  the  country  as  it  is 
at  variance  with  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States. 

"If,  passing  from  general  considerations,  we  examine  the  bill  in- detail, 
it  is  open  to  weighty  objections. 

"In  time  of  war*it  was  eminently  proper  that  we  should  provide  for  those 
who  were  passing  suddenly  from  a  condition  of  bondage  to  a  state  of  free- 
dom. But  this  bill  proposes  to  make  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  established  by 
the  act  of  1865  as  one  of  many  great  and  extraordinary  military  measures  to 
suppress  a  formidable  rebellion,  a  permanent  branch  of  the  public  adminis- 
tration, with  its  powers  greatly  enlarged.  I  have  no  reason  to  suppose,  and  I 
do  not  understand  it  to  be  alleged,  that  the  act  of  March,  18G5,  has  proved 
deficient  for  the  purpose  for  which  it  was  passed,  although  at  that  time, 
and  for  a  considerable  period  thereafter,  the  Government  of  the  United 
States  remained  unacknowledged  in  most  of  the  States  whose  inhabitants 
had  been  involved  in  the  rebellion.  The  institution  of  slavery,  for  the  mili- 
tary destruction  of  .which  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  was  called  into  existence  as 
an  auxiliary,  has  been  already  effectually  and  finally  abrogated  throughout 
the  whole  country  by  an  amendment  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States, 
and  practically  its  eradication  has  received  the  assent  and  concurrence  of 
most  of  those  States  in  which  it  at  any  time  had  an  existence.  I  am  not, 
therefore,  able  to  discern,  in  the  condition  of  the  country,  any  thing  to  jus- 
tify an  apprehension  that  the  powers  and  agencies  of  the  Freedmen's  Bu- 
reau, which  were  effective  for  the  protection  of  freedmen  and  refugees  dur- 
ing the  actual  continuance  of  hostilities  and  of  African  servitude,  will  now, 
in  a  time  of  peace,  and  after  the  abolition  of  slavery,  prove  inadequate  to 
the  same  proper  ends.  If  I  am  correct  in  these  views,  there  can  be  no  ne- 
cessity for  the  enlargement  of  the  powers  of  the  bureau,  for  which  provision 
is  made  in  the  bill. 

"The  third  section  of  the  bill  authorizes  a  general  and  unlimited  grant 
of  support  to  the  destitute  and  suffering  refugees  and  freedmen,  their  wives 
and  children.  Succeeding  sections  make  provision  for  the  rent  or  purchase 
of  landed  estates  for  freedmen,  and  for  the  erection  for  their  benefit  of  suit- 
able buildings  for  asylums  and  schools,  the  expenses  to  be  defrayed  from 
the  Treasury  of  the  whole  people.     The  Congress  of  the  United  States  has 


THE  FREEDMEJf.  167 

never  heretofore  thought  itself  empowered  to  establish  asylums  beyond  the 
limits  of  the  District  of  Columbia,  except  for  the  benefit  of  our  disabled 
soldiers  and  sailors.  It  has  never  founded  schools  for  any  class  of  our  own 
people,  not  even  for  the  orphans  of  those  who  have  fallen  in  the  defense  of 
the  Union ;  but  has  left  the  care  of  education  to  the  much  more  competent 
and  efficient  control  of  the  States,  of  communities,  of  private  associations, 
and  of  individuals.  It  has  never  deemed  itself  authorized  to.expend  the 
public  money  for  the  rent  or  purchase  of  homes  for  the  thousands,  not  to 
say  millions,  of  the  white  race,  who  are  honestly  toiling  from  day  to  day 
for  their  subsistence.  A  system  for  the  support  of  indigent  persons  in  the 
United  States  was  never  contemplated  by  the  authors  of  the  Constitution, 
nor  can  any  good  reason  be  advanced  why,  as  a  permanent  establishment, 
it  should  be  founded  for  one  class  or  color  of  our  people  more  than  another. 
Pending  the  war,  many  refugees  and  freedmen  received  support  from  the 
Government,  but  it  was  never  intended  that  they  should  thenceforth  be  fed, 
clothed,  educated,  and  sheltered  by  the  United  States.  The  idea  on  which 
the  slaves  were  assisted  to  freedom  was  that,  on  becoming  free,' they  would 
be  a  self-sustaining  population.  Any  legislation  that  shall  imply  that  they 
are  not  expected  to  attain  a  self-sustaining  condition  must  have  a  tendency 
injurious  alike  to  their  character  and  their  prospects. 

"The  appointment  of  an  agent  for  every  county  and  parish  will  create  an 
immense  patronage;  and  the  expense  of  the  numerous  officers  and  their 
clerks,  to  be  appointed  by  the  President,  will  be  great  in  the  beginning, 
with  a  tendency  steadily  to  increase.  _  The  appropriations  asked  by  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau,  as  now  established,  for  the  year  1866,  amount  to 
$11,745,000.  It  may  be  safely  estimated  that  the  cost  to  be  incurred  under 
the  pending  bill  will  require  double  that  amount— more  than  the  entire 
sum  expended  in  any  one  year  under  the  administration  of  the  second 
Adams.  If  the  presence  of  agents  in  every  parish  and  county  is  to  be  con- 
sidered as  a  war  measure,  opposition,  or  even  resistance,  might  be  pro- 
voked, so  that,  to  give  effect  to  their  jurisdiction,  troops  would  have  to  be 
stationed  within  reach  of  every  one  of  them,  and  thus  a  large  standing 
force  be  rendered  necessary.  Large  appropriations  would  therefore  be  re- 
required  to  sustain  and  enforce  military  jurisdiction  in  every  county  or 
parish  from  the  Potomac  to  the  Rio  Grande.  The  condition  of  our  fiscal 
affairs  is  encouraging,  but,  in  order  to  sustain  the  present  measure  of  pub- 
lic confidence,  it  is  necessary  that  we  practice  not  merely  customary  econ- 
omy, but,  as  far  as  possible,  severe  retrenchment. 

"In  addition  to  the  objections  already  stated,  the  fifth  section  of  the  bill 
proposes  to  take  away  land  from  its  former  owners  without  any  legal  pro- 
ceedings being  first  had,  contrary  to  that  provision  of  the  Constitution  which 
declares  that  no  person  shall  '  be  deprived  of  life,  liberty,  or  property,  with- 
out due  process  of  law.'  It  does  not  appear  that  a  part  of  the  lands  to  which 
this  section  refers  may  not  be  owned  by  minors  or  persons  of  unsound  mind, 
or  by  those  who  have  been  faithful  to  all  their  obligations  as  citizens  of  the 
United  States.  If  any  portion  of  the  land  is  held  by  such  persons,  it  is  not 
competent  for  any  authority  to  deprive  them  of  it.  If,  on  the  "other  hand, 
it  be  found  that  the  property  is  liable  to  confiscation,  even  then  it  can  not 


168  THE  THIRTY-MINTS  CONGRESS. 

be  appropriated  to  public  purposes  until,  by  due  process  of  law,  it  shall 
have  been  declared  forfeited  to  the  Government. 

"There  is  still  further  objection  to  the  bill  on  grounds  seriously  affecting 
the  class  of  persons  to  whom  it  is  designed  to  bring  relief;  it  will  tend  to 
keep  the  mind  of  the  freedman  in  a  state  of  uncertain  expectation  and  rest- 
lessness, while  to  those  among  whom  he  lives  it  will  be  a  source  of  constant 
and  vague  apprehension. 

"Undoubtedly  the  freedman  should  be  protected,  but  he  should  be  pro- 
tected by  the  civil  authorities,  especially  by  the  exercise  of  all  the  constitu- 
tional powers  of  the  courts  of  the  United  States  and  of  the  States.  His 
condition  is  not  so  exposed  as  may  at  first  be  imagined.  He  is  in  a  portion 
of  the  country  where  his  labor  can  not  well  be  spared.  Competition  for 
his  services  from  planters,  from  those  who  are  constructing  or  repairing 
railroads,  and  from  capitalists  in  his  vicinage  or  from  other  States,  will  en- 
able him  to  command  almost  his  own  terms.  He  also  possesses  a  perfect 
right  to  change  his  place  of  abode;  and  if,'  therefore,  he  does  not  find  in 
one  community  or  State  a  mode  of  life  suited  to  his  desires,  or  proper  re- 
muneration for  his  labor,  he  can  move  to  another,  where  that  labor  is  more 
esteemed  and  better  rewarded.  In  truth,  however,  each  State,  induced  by 
its  own  wants  and  interests,  will  do  what  is  necessary  and  proper  to  retain 
within  its  borders  all  the  labor  that  is  needed  for  the  development  of  its 
resources.  The  laws  that  regulate  supply  and  demand  will  maintain  their 
force,  and  the  wages  of  the  laborer  will  be  regulated  thereby.  There  is  no 
danger  that  the  exceedingly  great  demand  for  labor  will  not  operate  in  favor 
of  the  laborer. 

"Neither  is  sufficient  consideration  given  to  the  ability  of  the  freedmen 
to  protect  and  take  care  of  themselves.  It  is  no  more  than  justice  to  them 
to  believe  that,  as  they  have  received  their  freedom  with  moderation  and 
forbearance,  so  they  will  distinguish  themselves  by  their  industry  and  thrift, 
and  soon  show  the  world  that,  in  a  condition  of  freedom,  they  are  self-sus- 
taining, capable  of  selecting  their  own  employment  and  their  own  places 
of  abode,  of  insisting  for  themselves  on  a  proper  remuneration,  and  of  es- 
tablishing and  maintaining  their  own  asylums  and  schools.  It  is  earnestly 
hoped  that,  instead  of  wasting  away,  they  will,  by  their  own  efforts,  estab- 
lish for  themselves  a  condition  of  respect,  ability,  and  prosperity.  It  is 
certain  that  they  can  attain  to  that  condition  only  through  their  own  merits 
and  exertions. 

"In  this  connection  the  query  presents  itself,  whether  the  system  pro- 
posed by  the  bill  will  not,*  when  put  into  complete  operation,  practically 
transfer  the  entire  care,  support,  and  control  of  four  million  emancipated 
slaves  to  agents,  overseers,  or  task-masters,  who,  appointed  at  Washington, 
are  to  be  located  in  every  county  and  parish  throughout  the  United  States 
containing  freedmen  and  refugees?  Such  a  system  would  inevitably  tend 
to  a  concentration  of  power  in  the  Executive  which  would  enable  him,  if  so 
disposed,  to  control  the  action  of  this  numerous  class  and  use  them  for  the 
attainment  of  his  own  political  ends. 

"I  can  not  but  add  another  very  grave  objection  to  this  bill:  The  Consti- 
tution imperatively  declares,  in  connection  with  taxation,  that  each  State 


THE  FREEDMEN.  169 

shall  have  at  least  one  Representative,  and  fixes  the  rule  for  the  number  to 
which,  in  future  times,  each  State  shall  be  entitled.  It  also  provides  that 
the  Senate  of  the  United  States  shall  be  composed  of  two  Senators  from 
each  State,  and  adds,  with  peculiar  force,  'that  no  State,  without  its  con- 
sent, shall  be  deprived  of  its  ecpial  suffrage  in  the  Senate.'  The  original 
act  was  necessarily  passed  in  the  absence  of  the  States  chiefly  to  be  af- 
fected, because  their  people  were  then  contumaciously  engaged  in  the  re- 
bellion. Now  the  case  is  changed,  and  some,  at  least,  of  those  States  are 
attending  Congress  by  loyal  Representatives,  soliciting  the  allowance  qf  the 
constitutional  right  of  representation.  At  the  time,  however,  of  the  consid- 
eration and  the  passing  of  thi^s  bill,  there  was  no  Senator  or  Representative 
in  Congress  from  the  eleven  States  which  are  to  be  mainly  affected  by  its 
provisions.  The  very  fact  that  reports  were  and  are  made  against  the  good 
disposition  of  the  people  of  that  portion  of  the  country  is  an  additional  reason 
why  they  need,  and  should  have,  Representatives  of  their  own  in  Congress  to 
explain  their  condition,  reply  to  accusations,  and  assist,  by  their  local  knowl- 
edge, in  the  perfecting  of  measures  immediately  affecting  themselves.  While 
•the  liberty  of  deliberation  would  then  be  free,  and  Congress  would  have  full 
power  to  decide  according  to  its  judgment,  there  could  be  no  objection  urged 
that  the  States  most  interested  had  not  been  permitted  to  be  heard.  The 
principle  is  firmly  fixed  in  the  minds  of  the  American  people  that  there 
should  be  no  taxation  without  representation. 

"Great  burdens  have  now  to  be  borne  by  all  the  country,  and  we  may 
best  demand  that  they  shall  be  borne  without  murmur  when  they  are  voted 
by  a  majority  of  the  Represetatives  of  all  the  people.  I  would  not  inter- 
fere with  the  uncpaestionable  right  of  Congress  to  judge,  each  house  for 
itself,  '  of  the  elections,  returns,  and  qualifications  of  its  own  members,'  but 
that  authority  can  not  be  construed  as  including  the  right  to  shut  out,  in 
time  of  peace,  any  State  from  the  representation  to  which 'it  is  entitled  by 
the  Constitution.  At  present,  all  the  people  of  eleven  States  are  excluded — 
those  who  were  most  faithful  during  the  war  not  less  than  others.  The 
State  of  Tennessee,  for  instance,  whose  authorities  engaged  in  rebellion, 
was  restored  to  all  her  constitutional  relations  to  the  Union  by  the  patriot- 
ism and  energy  of  her  injured  and  betrayed  people.  Before  the  war  was 
brought  to  a  termination,  they  had  placed  themselves  in  relation  with  the 
General  Government,  had  established  a  State  government  of  their  own;  as  ' 
they  were  not  included  in  the  Emancipation  Proclamation,  they,  by  their 
own  act,  had  amended  their  Constitution  so  as  to  abolish  slavery  within 
the  limits  of  their  State.  I  know  no  reason  why  the  State  of  Tennessee, 
for  example,  should  not  fully  enjoy  'all  her  constitutional  relations  to  the 
United  States.' 

"The  President  of  the  United  States  stands  toward  the  country  in  a  some- 
what different  attitude  fr'om  that  of  any  member  of  Congress.  Each  mem- 
ber of  Congress  is  chosen  from  a  single  district  or  State;  the  President  is 
chosen  by  the  people  of  all  the  States.  As  eleven  are  not  at  this  time  rep- 
resented in  either  branch  of  Congress,  it  would  seem  to  be  his  duty,  on  all 
proper  occasions,  to  present  their  just  claims  to  Congress.  The're  always 
will  bo.  differences  of  opinion  in  the  community,  and  individuals  may  be 


170  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS.. 

be  guilty  of  transgressions  of  the  law;  but  these  do  not  constitute  valid 
objections  against  the  right  of  a  State  to  representation.  I  would  in  nowise 
interfere  with  the  discretion  of  Congress  with  regard  to  the  qualifications 
of  members;  but  I  hold  it  my  duty  to  recommend  to  you,  in  the  interests 
of  peace  and  in  the  interests  of  union,  the.  admission  of  every  State  to  its 
share  in  public  legislation  when,  however  insubordinate,  insurgent,  or  re- 
bellious its  people  may  have  been,  it  presents  itself,  not  only  in  an  attitude 
of  loyalty  and  harmony,  but  in  the  persons  of  Representatives  whose  loy- 
alty qan  not  be  questioned  under  any  existing  constitutional  or  legal  test. 

"It  is  plain  that  an  indefinite  or  permanent  exclusion  of  any  part  of  the 
country  from  representation  must  be  attended  by  a  spirit  of  disquiet  and 
complaint.  It  is  unwise  and  dangerous  to  pursue  a  course  of  measures 
which  will  unite  a  very  large  section  of  the  country  against  another  section 
of  the  country,  however  much  the  latter  may  preponderate.  The  course  of 
emigration,  the  development  of  industry  and  business,  and  natural  causes  will 
raise  up  at  the  South  men  as  devoted  to  the  Union  as  those  of  any  other 
part  of  the  land.     But  if  they  are  all  excluded  from  Congress — if,  in  a  per- 

*  manent  statute,  they«are  declared  not  to  be  in  full  constitutional  relations, 
to  the  country — they  may  think  they  have  cause  to  become  a  unit  in  feeling 
and  sentiment  against  the  Government.  Under  the  political  education  of 
the  American" people,  the  idea  is  inherent  and  ineradicable  that  the  con- 
sent of  the  majority  of  the  whole  people  is  necessary  to  secure  a  willing 
acquiescence  in  legislation. 

"The  bill  under  consideration  refers  to  certain  of  the  States  as  though 
they  had  not  'been  fully  restored  in  all  their  constitutional  relations  to  the 
United  States.'  If  they  have  not,  let  us  at  once  act  together  to  secure  that 
desirable  end  at  the  earliest  possible  moment.  It  is  hardly  necessary  for  me 
to  inform  Congress  that,  in  my  own  judgment,  most  of  these  States,  so  far, 
at  least,  as  depends  upon  their  own  action,  have  already  been  fully  restored, 
and  are  to  be  deemed  as  entitled  to  enjoy  their  constitutional  rights  as  mem- 
bers of  the  Union.  Reasoning  from  the  Constitution  itself,  and  from  the 
actual  situation  of  the  country,  I  feel  not  only  entitled  but  bound  to  as- 
sume that,  with  the  Federal  courts  restored,  and  those  of  the  several  States 
in  the  full  exercise  of  their  functions,  the  rights  and  interests  of  all  classes 
of  the  people  will,  with  the  aid  of  the  military  in  cases  of  resistance  to  the 

'laws,  be  essentially  protected  against  unconstitutional  infringement  or  viola- 
tion.    Should  this  expectation  unhappily  fail — which  I  do  not  anticipate — 

'  then  the  Executive  is  already  fully  armed  with  the  powers  conferred  by  the 
act  of  March,  1865,  establishing  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  and  hereafter,  as 

'  heretofore,  he  can  employ  the  land  and  naval  forces  of  the  country  to  sup- 
press insurrection  or  to  overcome  obstructions  to  the  laws. 

"In  accordance  with  the  Constitution,-  I  return  the  bill  to  the  Senate,  in 
the  earnest  hope  that  a  measure  involving  questions  and  interests  so  im- 
portant to  the  country  will  not  become  a  law  unless,  upon  deliberate  con- 
sideration by  the  people,  it  shall  receive  the  sanction  of  an  enlightened 
public  judgment. 

"ANDREW  JOHNSON." 


s^^^^^f 


THE  FREEDMEN.  171 

The  majority  of  the  Senate  was  in  favor  of  proceeding  imme- 
diately to  the  consideration  of  the  message,  and  to  have  a  vote  as 
to  whether  the  bill  should  be  passed,  "the  objections  of  the. Presi- 
dent to  the  contrary  notwithstanding."  To  this  Mr.  Lane,  of 
Kansas,  was  opposed.  ^He  said:  "There  are  several  Senators 
absent,  and  I  think  it  but  just  to  them  that  they  should  have  an 
opportunity  to  be  present  when  the  vote  is  taken  on  this  bill.  I 
can  not  consent,  so  long  as  I  can  postpone  this  question  by  the 
rules  of  the  Senate,  to  have  a  vote  upon  it  to-night."  Mr.  Lane 
accordingly  made  four  successive  motions  to  -adjourn,  in  each  of 
which  he  called  for  the  yeas  and  nays.  Finally,  the  motion  for 
adjournment  having  been  made  for  the  fifth  time,  it  was  carried, 
with  the  understanding  that  the  bill  should  be  the  pending  ques- 
tion at  one  o'clock  on  the  following  day. 

On  that  day,  February  20th,  the  bill  and  the  message  came 
duly  before  the  Senate.  Mr.  Davis  obtained  the  floor,  and  made 
a  long  speech  in  opposition  to  the  bill  and  in  favor  of  the  Veto 
Message.  He  expressed  his  aversion  to  the  bill,  and  the  objects 
sought  to  be  attained  under  it  in  very  emphatic  terms,  but  added 
nothing  to  the  arguments  which  had  already  been  adduced. 

Mr.  Trumbull  replied  to  the  objections  urged  against  the  bill 
in  the  President's  Message.  The  President  said,  "The  bill, 
should  it  become  a  law  will  have  no  limitation  in  point  of  time, 
but  will  form  a  part  of  the  permanent  legislation  of  the  country." 

"The  object  of  the  bill,"  replied  Mr.  Trumbull,  ""was  to  con- 
tinue in  existence  the  Freedmen's  Bureau — not  as  a  permanent  in- 
stitution. Any  such  intent  was  disavowed  during  the  discussion  of 
the  bill.  It  is  true,  no  time  is  expressly  limited  in  the  bill  itself 
when  it  shall  cease  to  operate,  nor  is  it  customary  to  insert  such 
a  clause  in  a  law;  but  it  is  declared  that  the  bill  shall  operate 
until  otherwise  provided  by  law.  It  is  known  that  the  Congress 
of  the  United  States  assembles  every  year,  and  no  one  supposed 
that  this  bill  was  to  establish  a  burejau  to  be  ingrafted  upon  the 
country  as  a  permanent  institution ;  far  from  it.  Nor  is  it  a  bill 
that  is  intended  to  go  into  the  States  and  take  control  of  the  do- 
mestic affairs  of  the  States." 

"  There  is  no  immediate  necessity  for  the.  proposed  measure," 
said  the  President  •  "  the  act  to  establish  a  Bureau  for  the  Eelief 
of  Freedmen  and  Refugees,  which  was  approved  in  the  month  of 


172  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

March  last,  has  not  yet  expired.  It  was  thought  stringent  and 
extensive  enough  for  the  purpose  in  view  in  time  of  war." 

Mr*  Trumbull  replied-:  "By. the  terms  of  the  act,  it  was  to  con- 
tinue 'during  the  present  war  of  rebellion  and  for  one  year  there- 
after.' Now,  when  did  the  war  of  rebellion  cease  ?  So  far  as  the 
conflict  of  arms  is  concerned,  we  all  admit  that  the  war  of 'rebell- 
ion ceased  when  the  last  rebel  army  laid  down  its  arms,  and  that 
was  some  time  in  the  month  of  May,  when  the  rebel  army  in 
Texas  surrendered  to  the  Union  forces.  I  do  not  hold  that  the 
consequences  of  the  war  are  over.  I  do  not  understand  that 
peace  is  restored  with  all  its  consequences.  We  have  not  yet 
escaped  from  the  evils  inflicted  by  the  war.  Peace  and  harmony 
are  not  yet  restored,  but  the  war  of  rebellion  is  over,  and  this 
bureau  must  expire  in  May  next,  according  to  the  terms  of  the 
act  that  was  passed  on  the  3d  of  March,  1865,  and  according"  to 
the  views  of  the  President  as  expressed  in  his  Veto  Message." 

"  The  bill,"  said  the  President,  "  proposes  to  establish  by  author- 
ity of  Congress,  military  jurisdiction  over  all  parts  of  the  United 
States  containing  refugees  and  freedmen." 

"  I  would  like  to  know,"  said  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  where  in  that 
bill  is  any  provision  extending  military  jurisdiction  over  all  parts 
of  the  United  States  containing  refugees  and  freedmen '?  The  bill 
contains  no  such  clause.  It  .is  a  misapprehension  of  the  bill. 
The  clause  of  the  bill  upon  that  subject  is. this: 

"  '  And  the  President  of  the  United  States,  through  the  "War  Department 
and  the  commissioner,  shall  extend  military  jurisdiction  and  protection  over 
all  employes,  agents,  and  officers  of  this  bureau  in  the  exercise  of  the  duties 
imposed  or  authorized  by  this  act  or  the  act  to  which  this  is  additional.' 

"  Is  not  the  difference  manifest  to  every  body  between  a  bill 
that  extends  military  jurisdiction  over  the  officers  and  employes 
of  the  bureau  and  a  bill  which  should  extend  military  jurisdiction 
over  all  parts  of  the  United  States  containing  refugees  and  freed- 
men ?  This  bill  makes  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  a  part  of  the  War 
Department.  It  makes  its  officers  and  agents  amenable  to  the 
Rules  and  Articles  of  "War.  But  does  that  extend  jurisdiction 
over  the  whole  country  where  they  are  ?  How  do  they  differ  from 
any  other  portion  of  the  army  of  the  United  States  ?  The  army 
of  the  United  States,  as  every  one  knows,  is  governed  by  the 
Rules  and  Articles  of  War,  wherever  it  may  be,  whether  in  Indi- 


THE  FREEDMEN.  173 

ana  or  in  Florida,  and  all  persons  in  the  army  and  a  part  of  the 
military  establishment  are  subject  to  these  Rules  and  Articles  of 
AVar ;  but  did  any  body  ever  suppose  that  the  whole  country  where 
they  were  was  under  military  jurisdiction  ?  If  a  company  of  sol- 
diers are  stationed  at  one  of  the  forts  in  Xew  York  harbor,  the 
officers  and  soldiers  of  that  company  are  subject  to  military  juris- 
diction ;  but  was  it  ever  supposed  that  the  people  of  the  State  of 
Xew  York  were  thereby  placed  under  military  jurisdiction?  It 
is  an  entire  niisajmrehension  of  the  provisions  of  the  bill.  It  ex- 
tends military  jurisdiction  nowhere;  it  merely  places  uncler  juris- 
diction the  persons  belonging  to  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  who, 
nearly  all  of  them,  are  now  under  military  jurisdiction." 

"  The  country,"  objected  the  President,  "  is  to  be  divided  into 
districts  and  sub-districts,  and  the  number  of  salaried  agents  to 
be  employed  may  be  equal  to  the  number  of  counties  or  parishes 
in  all  the  States  where  freedmen  and  refugees  are  to  be  found." 

Mr.  Trumbull  replied :  "  A  single  officer  need  not  be  employed 
other  than  those  we  now  have.  I  have  already  stated  that  it  is 
in  the  power  and  discretion  of  the  President  to  detail  from  the 
army  officers  to  perform  all  the  duties  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau, 
and,  in  case  they  are  detailed,  the  bill  provides,  that  they  shall 
serve  without  any  additional  compensation  or  allowance.  But, 
sir,  is  it  necessary,  or  was  it  ever  contemplated,  that  there  should 
be  an  officer  or  agent  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  in  every  county 
and  every  parish  where  refugees  and  freedmen  are  to  be  found? 
By  no  means.  What  is  the  bill  upon  that  subject?  Does  it 
make  it  imperative  upon  the  President  to  appoint  an  agent  in 
each  county  and  parish?  It  authorizes  him  'when  the  same 
shall  be  necessary  for  the  operations  of  the  bureau;'  not  other- 
wise. He  has  no  authority,  under  the  bill,  to  apppoint  a  single 
agent  unless  it  is  necessary  for  the  operations  of  the  bureau,  and 
then  he  can  only  appoint  so  many  as  may  be  needed.  Sir,  it 
never  entered  the  mind,  I  venture  to  say,  of  a  single  advocate 
of  this  bill,  that  the  President  of  the  United  States  would  so 
abuse  the  authority  intrusted  to  him  as  to  station  an  agent  in 
every  county  in  these  States;  but  it  was  apprehended  that  there 
might  be  localities  in  some  of  these  States  where  the  prejudice 
and  hostility  of  the  white  population  and  the  former  masters 
were  such  toward  the  negroes  that  it  would  be  necessary  to 
have  an  agent  in  every  county  in  that  locality  for  their  protec- 


174  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

tion-  and,  in  order  to  give  the  President  the  necessary  discre- 
tion where  this  should  be  requisite,  the  bill  authorized,  when  it 
was  "necessary  for  the  operations  of  the  bureau,  the  appointment 
of  an  agent  in  each  county  or  parish.  In  order  to  vest  the  Pres- 
ident with  sufficient  power  in  some  localities,  it  was  necessary, 
legislating  by  general  law,  to  give  him  much  larger  power  than 
would  be  necessary  in  other  localities. 

"Sir,  the  country  is  not  to  be  divided,  I  undertake  to  say, 
into  districts  and  sub-districts  unless  the  President  of  the  United 
States  finds  it  necessary  to  do  so  for  the  protection  of  these  peo- 
ple ;  and  if  the  law  should  be  abused  in  that  respect,  it  would  be 
because  he  abused  the  discretion  vested  in  him  by  Congress,  and 
not  because  the  law  required  it.    It  makes  no  such  requirement." 

"This  military  jurisdiction,"  said  the  President,  "also  extends 
to  all  questions  that  may  arise  respecting  contracts." 

"  So  far,"  replied  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  from  extending  this  military 
jurisdiction  over  all  questions  arising  concerning  contracts,  and 
so  far  from  extending  military  jurisdiction  anywhere,  it  is  ex- 
pressly provided,  by  the  very  terms  of  the  bill,  that  no  such  juris- 
diction shall  be  exercised  except  where  the  President  himself  has 
established  and  is  maintaining  military  jurisdiction,  which  he  is 
now  doing  in  eleven  States ;  and  the  very  moment  that  he  ceases  to 
maintain  military  jurisdiction,  that  very  moment  the  military  juris- 
diction conferred  over  freedmen  by  this  act  ceases  and  terminates. 

"Sir,  the  whole  jurisdiction  to  try  and  dispose  of  cases  by  the 
officers  and  agents  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  is  expressly  limited 
to  the  time  when  these  States  shall  be  restored  to  their  constitu- 
tional relations,  and  when  the  courts  of  the  United  States  and 
of  the  States  are  not  interrupted  nor  interfered  with'  in  the  peace- 
able course  of  justice.  So  far,  then,  from  the  bill  establishing  a 
military  jurisdiction,  upon  which  the  Senator  from  Kentucky 
and  other  Senators  have  so  much  harped,  it  confers  no  jurisdic- 
tion to  try  cases  one  moment  after  the  courts  are  restored,  and 
are  no  longer  interrupted  in  the  peaceable  administration  of  jus- 
tice. Let  me  ask  by  what  authority  is  it  that  military  tribunals 
are  sitting  to-day  at  Alexandria,  Virginia?  By  what  authority 
is  it  that  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  is  suspended  to-day  in  eleven 
States,  when  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  says  that  the 
writ  shall  not  be  suspended  except  when,  in  cases  of  rebellion 
and  invasion,  the  public  safety  may  require  it.     By  what  author- 


THE  FREEBMEK.  175 

ity  dose  the  President  *of  the  United  States  object  to  the  exercise 
of  military  jurisdiction  by  that  part  of  the  army  charged  with 
the  execution  of  the  provisions  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  when 
he  exercises  that  military  jurisdiction  himself  by  other  portions 
of  the  army?  But  a  few  days  since  a  military  commission  was 
sitting  in  Alexandria,  trying  persons  charged  with  crimes — and 
they  are  held  all  over  the  South— and  yet  that  part  of  the  army 
connected  with  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  can  not  exercise  any  such 
authority  because  it  is  unconstitutional — ^unconstitutional  to  do 
by  virtue  of  a  law  of  Congress  what  is  done  without  any  law ! 

"Where  does  the  Executive  get  the  power?  #The  Executive 
i>  but  the  Commander-in-chief  of  the  armies,  made  so  by  the 
Constitution;  but  he  can  not  raise  an  army  or  a  single  soldier, 
he  can  not  appoint  a  single  officer,  without  the  consent  of  Con- 
gress. He  can  not  make  any  rules  and  regulations  for  the  gov- 
ernment of  the  army  without  our  permission.  The  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  declares,  in  so  many  words,  that  Congress 
shall  have  power  '  to  make  rules  for  the  government  and  regula- 
tion of  the  land  and  naval  forces '  of  the  United  States.  Can  it 
be  that  that  department  of  the  Government,  vested  in  express 
terms  by  the  Constitution  itself  with  authority  to  make  rules  for 
the  government  and  regulation  of  the  land  and  naval  forces,  has 
no  authority  to  direct  that  portion  of  the  land  and  naval  forces 
employed  in  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  to  exercise  this  jurisdiction 
instead  of  department  commanders?  Sir,  it  is  competent  for 
Congress  to  declare  that  no  department  commanders  shall  exer- 
cise any  such  authority;  it  is  competent  for  Congress  to  declare 
that  a  court-martial  shall  never  sit,  that  a  military  commission 
shall  never  be  held,  and  the  President  is  as  much  bound  to 
obey  it  as  the  humblest  citizen  in  the  land." 

The  President  said  :  "  The  trials  having  their  origin  under  this 
bill  are  to  take  place  without  the  intervention  of  a  jury,,  and 
without  any  fixed  rules  of  law  or  evidence." 

"  Do  not  all  military  trials  take  place  in  that  way,"  asked  Mr. 
Trumbull.  "  Did  any  body  ever  hear  of  the  presentment  of  a 
grand  jury  in  a  case  where  a  court-martial  set  for  the  trial  of  a 
military  offense,  or  the'  trial  of  a  person  charged  with  any  oifense 
cognizable  before  it?  This  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  confers  no 
authority  to  do  this  except  in  those  regions  of  country  where 
military  authority  prevails,  where   martial  law  is    established, 


176  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

where  persons  exercising  civil  authority  act  in  subordination  to 
the  military  power,  and  where  the  moment  they  transcend  the 
proper  limits  as  fixed  by  military  orders,  they  are  liable  to  be 
arrested  and  punished  without  the  intervention  of  a  grand  jury, 
or  without  the  right  of  appeal  to  any  of  the  judicial  tribunals  of 
the  country.  I  would  as  soon  think  of  an  appeal  from  the  decis- 
ion of  the  military  tribunal  that  sat  in  the  city  of  Washington, 
and  condemned  to  death  the  murderers  of  our  late  President,  to 
the  judicial  tribunals  of  the  country!  Where  military  authority 
bears  sway,  where  the  courts  are  overborne,  is  it  not  an  absurd- 
ity to  say  that  you  must  have  a  presentment  of  a  grand  jury, 
and  a  trial  in  a  court." 

"I  can  not  reconcile  a  system  of  military  jurisdiction  of  this 
kind  with  the  words  of  the  Constitution,"  said  the  President. 

"  If  you  can  not  reconcile  a  system  of  military  jurisdiction  of 
this  kind  with  the  words  of  the  Constitution,  why  have  you  been 
exercising  it,"  asked  Mr.  Trumbull.  "Why  have  you  been  or- 
ganizing courts-martial  and  military  commissions  all  over  the 
South,  trying  offenders,  and  punishing  some  of  them  with  death  ? 
Why  have  you  authorized  the  present  Freedmen's  Bureau  to  hold 
bureau  courts  all  through  the  South  ?  This  has  all  been  done  by 
your  permission,  and  is  being  done  to-day.  Then,  sir,  if  you  are 
still  in  the  exercise  of  this  power  now,  if  you  have  been  exercis- 
ing it  from  the  day  you  became  President  of  the  United  States, 
how  is  it  that  you  can  not  reconcile  a  system  of  jurisdiction  of 
this  kind  with  the  words  of  the  Constitution  ? 

"Sir,  does  it  detract  from  the  President's  authority  to  have 
the  sanction  of  law?  I  want  to  give  that  sanction.  I  do  not 
object  to  the  exercise  of  this  military  authority  of  the  President 
in  the  rebellious  States.  I  believe  it  is  constitutional  and  legiti- 
mate and  necessary;  but  I  believe  Congress  has  authority  to 
regulate  it.  I  believe  Congress  has  authority  to  direct  that  this 
military  jurisdiction  shall  be  exercised  by  that  branch  of  the 
army  known  as  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  as  well  as  by  any  other 
branch  of  the  army." 

"The  rebellion  is  at  an  end,"  said  the  President.  "The 
measure,  therefore,  seems  to  be  as  inconsistent  with  the  actual 
condition  of  the  country  as  it  is  at  variance  with  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States." 

Mr.  Trumbull  replied  :  "  If  the  rebellion  is  at  an  end,  will  any 


THE  FREEDMEN.  177 

body  tell  me  by  what  authority  the  President  of  the  United  States 
suspends  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  in  those  States  where  it  existed. 
The  act  of  Congress  of  March,  18G3,  authorized  the  President  of 
the  United  States  to  suspend  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  during  the 
present  rebellion.  He  says  it  is  at  an  end.  By  what  authority, 
then,  does  he  suspend  the  writ?  By  his  own  declaration,  let 
him  stand  or  fall.  If  it  is  competent  to  suspend  the  writ,  if  it 
is  competent  for  military  tribunals  to  sit  all  through  the  South, 
and  entertain  military  jurisdiction,  this  bill,  which  does  not  con- 
tinue military  jurisdiction,  does  not  establish  military  jurisdiction, 
but  only  authorizes  the  officers  of  this  bureau,  while  military 
jurisdiction  prevails,  to  take  charge  of  that  particular  class  of 
cases  affecting  the  refugee  or  freedman  where  he  is  discriminated 
against,  can  not  be  obnoxious  to  any  constitutional  objection." 

"This  bill,"  said  the  President,  "proposes  to  make  the  Freed- 
mcn's  Bureau,  established  by  the  act  of  1865,  as  one  of  many 
great  and  extraordinary  military  measures  to  suppress  a  formida- 
ble rebellion,  a  permanent  branch  of  the  public  administration, 
with  its  powers  greatly  enlarged." 

"  This  is  a  mistake,"  replied  Mr.  Trumbull ;  "  it  is  not  intended, 
I  apprehend,  by  any  body,  certainly  not  by  me,  to  make  it  a 
permanent  branch  of  the  public  administration;  and  I  am  quite 
sure  that  the  powers  of  the  bureau  are  not,  by  the  amendatory 
bill,  greatly  enlarged.  A  careful  exami nation  of  the  amendment 
will  show  that  it  is  in  some  respects  a  restriction  on  the  powers 
already  exercised." 

"  The  third  section  of  the  bill,"  the  President  objected,  "au- 
thorizes a  general  and  unlimited  grant  of  support  to  the  des- 
titute and  suffering  refugees  and  freedmen,  their  wives  and 
children." 

"  What  is  the  third  section  of  the  bill,"  asked  Mr.  Trumbull, 
"  which  the  President  says  contains  such  an  unlimited  grant  of 
support  to  the  destitute  and  suffering  refugees,  their  wives  and 
children  ?     I  will  read  that  third  section  : 

"  'That  the  Secretary  of  War  may  direct  such  issues  of  provisions,  cloth- 
ing, fuel,  including  medical  stores  and  transportation,  and  afford  such  aid, 
medical  or  otherwise,  as  he  may  deem  needful  for  the  immediate  and  tem- 
porary shelter  and  supply  of  destitute  and  suffering  refugees  and  freedmen, 
their  wives  and  children,  under  such  rules  and  regulations  as  he  may  direct : 
Provided,  That  no  person  shall  be  deemed  "destitute,"  "suffering,"  or 
12 


178  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"  dependent  upon  the  Government  for  support,"  within  the  meaning  of  this 
act,  who,  being  able  to  find  employment,  could,  by  proper  industry  and  exer- 
tion, avoid  such  destitution,  suffering,  or  dependence.' 

"Does  the  President  object  to  this  bill  on  the  ground  that 
it  authorizes  medical  aid  to  be  furnished  the  sick?  Or  does  he 
object  to  it  because  of  the  proviso  which  limits -its  operation,  and 
declares  that  nobody  shall  be  deemed  destitute  and  suffering  un- 
der the  provisions  of  the  act  who  is  able,  by  proper  industry  and 
exertion,  to  avoid  such  destitution?  Why,  sir,  it  is  a  limitation 
on  the  present  existing  law.  Does  that  look  much  like  taking 
care  of  four  million  of  people — a  provision  that  expressly  limits 
the  operations  of  this  act  to  those  only  who  can  not  find  employ- 
ment? A  statement  of  the  fact  is  all  that  is  necessary  to  meet 
this  statement  in  the  Veto  Message." 

"  The  Congress  of  the  United  States,"  said  the  President,  "  has 
never  heretofore  thought  itself  empowered  to  establish  asylums 
beyond  the  limits  of  the  District  of  Columbia,  except  for  the  bene- 
fit of  our  disabled  soldiers  and  sailors.  It  has  never  founded 
schools  for  any  class  of  our  own  people.  It  has  never  deemed  it- 
self authorized  to  expend  the  public  money  for  the  rent  or  purchase 
of  homes  for  the  thousands,  not  to  say  millions  of  the  white  race 
who  are  honestly  toiling  from  day  to  day  for  their  subsistence." 

"  The  answer  to  that  is  this,"  said  Mr.  Trumbull :  "  We  never  be- 
fore were  in  such  a  state  as  now ;  never  before  in  the  history  of  this 
Government  did  eleven  States  of  the  Union  combine  together  to 
overthrow  and  destroy  the  Union ;  never  before  in  the  history  of 
this  Government  have  we  had  a  four  years'  civil  war ;  never  before 
in  the  history  of  this  Government  have  nearly  four  million  peo- 
ple been  emancipated  from  the  most  abject  and  degrading  slavery 
ever  imposed  upon  human  beings ;  never  before  has  the  occasion 
arisen  when  it  was  necessary  to  provide  for  such  large  numbers 
of  people  thrown  upon  the  bounty  of  the  Government  unpro- 
tected and  unprovided  for.  But,  sir,  wherever  the  necessity  did 
exist  the  Government  has  acted.  We  have  voted  hundreds  of 
thousands  and  millions  of  dollars,  and  are  doing  it  from  year  to 
year,  to  take  care  of  and  provide  for  the  destitute  and  suffering 
Indians.  We  appropriated,  years  ago,  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
dollars  to  take  care  of  and  feed  the  savage  African  who  was 
landed  upon  our  coast  by  slavers.  We  provided  by  law  that 
whenever  savages  from  Africa  should  be  brought  to  our  shores, 


THE  FREEDMEJf.  179 

or  whenever  they  should  be  captured  on  board  of  slavers,  the 
President  of  .the  United  States  should  make  provision  for  their 
maintenance  and  support,  for  five  years,  on  the  coast  of  Africa. 
He  was  authorized  by  law  to  appoint  agents  to  go  to  Africa  to 
provide  means  to  feed  them,  and  we  paid  the  money  to  do  it. 
And  yet,  sir,  can  we  not  provide  for  these  Africans  who  have 
been  held  in  bondage  all  their  lives,  who  have  never  been  per- 
mitted to  earn  one  dollar  for  themselves,  who,  by  the  great  Con- 
stitutional Amendment  declaring  freedom  throughout  the  land, 
have  been  discharged  from  bondage  to  their  masters,  who  had 
hitherto  provided  for  their  necessities  in  consideration  of  their 
services?  Can  we  not  provide  for  these  destitute  persons  of  our 
own  land  on  the  same  principle  that  we  provide  for  the  Indians, 
that  we  provide  for  the  savage  African  ?  " 

"  But,"  continued  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  the  President  says  we  have 
never  rented  lands  for  the  white  race,  we  have  never  purchased 
lands  for  them.  What  do  we  propose  to  do  by  this  bill?  This 
authorizes,  if  the  President  thinks  proper  to  do  it — it  is  in  his 
discretion — the  purchase  or  renting  of  lands  on  which  to  place 
these  indigent  people ;  but  before  any  land  can  be  purchased  or 
rented,  before  any  contract  can  be  made  on  the  subject,  there 
must  be  an  appropriation  made  by  Congress.  This  bill  con- 
tains no  appropriation.  .If  the  President  is  opposed  to  the  rent 
or  piu-chase  of  land,  and  Congress  passes  a  bill  appropriating 
money  for  that  purpose,  let  him  veto  it  if  he  thinks  it  unconsti- 
tutional ;  but  there  is  nothing  unconstitutional  in  this  bill.  This 
bill  does  not  purchase  any  land;  but  it  prevents  even  a  contract 
on  the  subject  until  another  law  shall  be  passed  appropriating  the 
money  for  that  purpose. 

"  But,  sir,  what  is  the  objection  to  it  if  it  did  appropriate  the 
money?  I  have  already  undertaken  to  show,  and  I  think  I  have 
shown,  that  it  was  the  duty  of  the  United  States,  as  an  indepen- 
dent nation,  as  one  of  the  powers  of  the  earth,  whenever  there 
came  into  its  possession  an  unprotected  class  of  people,  who  must 
suffer  and  perish  but  for  its  care,  to  provide  for  and  take  care  of 
them.  When  an  army  is  marching  through  an  enemy's  country, 
and  poor  and  destitute  persons  are  found  within  its  lines  who 
must  die  by  starvation  if  they  are  not  fed  from  the  supplies  of  the 
army,  will  any  body  show  me  the  constitutional  provision  or  the 
act  of  Congress  that  authorizes  the  general  commanding  to  open 


180  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

his  commissariat  and  feed  the  starving  multitude?  And  has  it 
not  been  done  by  every  one  of  your  commanders  all  through  the 
South?  Whenever  a  starving  human  being,  man,  woman,  or 
child,  no  matter  whether  black  or  white,  rebel  or  loyal,  came 
within  the  lines  of  the  army,  to  perish  and  die  unless  fed  from 
our  supplies,  there  has  never  been  an  officer  in  our  service,  and, 
thank  God !  there  has  not  been,  who  did  not  relieve  the  sufferer. 
If  you  want  to  know  where  the  constitutional  power  to  do  this 
is,  and  where  the  law  is,  I  answer,  it  is  in^hat  common  humanity 
that  belongs  to  every  man  fit  to  bear  the  name,  and  it  is  in  that 
power  that  belongs  to  us  as  a  Christian  nation,  carrying  on  war 
upon  civilized  principles. 

"  If  we  had  the  right  then  to  feed  those  people  as  we  did,  have 
we  not  the  right  to  take  care  of  them  in  the  cheapest  way  we 
can?  If,  when  General  Sherman  was  passing  through  Georgia, 
he  found  the  lands  abandoned ;  if  their  able-bodied  owners  had 
entered  the  rebel  army  to  fight  against  us;  if  the  women  and 
children  had  fled  and  left  the  land  a  waste,  and  he  had,  as  is  the 
fact,  thousands  of  persons  hanging  upon  his  army  dependent  upon 
him  for  supplies;  if  it  wTas  believed  that  it  would  be  cheaper  to 
support  these  people  upon  these  lands  than  to  buy  provisions  to 
feed  them,  might  we  not  do  so  ?  May  we  not  resort  to  whatever 
means  is  most  judicious  to  protect  from  starvation  that  multitude 
which  common  humanity  requires  us  to  feed  ? 

"  Nor,  sir,  is  it  true  that  no  provision  has  been  made  by  Con- 
gress for  the  education  of  white  people.  We  have  given  all 
through  the  new  States  one  section  of  land  in  every  township  for 
the  benefit  of  common  schools.  We  have  donated  hundreds  of 
thousands  of  acres  of  land  to  all  the  States  for  the  establishment 
of  colleges  and  seminaries  of  learning.  How  did  we  get  this 
land?  It  was  purchased  by  our  money,  and  then  we  gave  it 
awray  for  purposes  of  education.  The  same  right  exists  now  to 
provide  for  these  people,  and  it  is  not  simply  for  the  black  peo- 
ple, but  for  the  white  refugees  as  wrell  as  the  black,  that  this  bill 
provides." 

Said  the  President :  "  The  appropriations  asked  by  the  Freed- 
men's  Bureau,  as  now  established,  for  the  year  1866,  amounts  to 
$11,745,000.  It  may  be  safely  estimated  that  the  cost  to  be  in- 
curred under  the  pending  bill  will  require  double  that  amount." 

Mr.  Trumbull  replied :  "A  far  larger  sum,  in  proportion  to  the 


TEE  FREED  MEN.  181 

number  that  were  thrown  upon  our  hands,  was  expended  before 
the  creation  of  the  Freednicn's  Bureau,  in  feeding  and  taking  care 
of  refugees  and  freedmen,  than  since  the  establishment  of  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau.  Since  that  time,  the  authority  of  the  Gov- 
ernment has  been  extended  over  all  the  rebellious  States,  and  we 
have  had  a  larger  number  of  refugees  and  freedmen  to  provide 
for,  but  in  proportion  to  the  number  I  have  no  doubt  that  the 
expense  is  less  now  than  it  was  before  the  establishment  of  the 
bureau." 

"  The  query  again  presents  itself,"  said  the  President,  "  whether 
the  system  proposed  by  the  bill  will  not,  when  put  into  complete 
operation,  practically  transfer  the  entire  care,  support,  and  control 
of  four  million  emancipated  slaves  to  agents,  overseers,  or  task- 
masters, who,  appointed  at  Washington,  are  to  be  located  in  every 
county  and  parish  throughout  the  United  States  containing  freed- 
men and  refugees." 

"  I  scarcely  know  how  to  reply  to  that  most  extravagant  state- 
ment," said  Mr.  Trumbull.  "  I  have  already  shown  that  it  would 
be  a  great  abuse  of  the  power  conferred  by  this  bill  to  station  an 
agent  in  every  county.  I  have  already  stated  that  but  a  small 
proportion  of  the  freedmen  are  aided  by  the  Freedmen's  Bureau. 
In  this  official  document  the  President  has  sent  to  Congress  the 
exaggerated  statement  that  it  is  a  question  whether  this  bureau 
would  not  bring  under  its  control  the  four  million  emancipated 
slaves.  The  census  of  1860  shows  that  there  never  were  four 
million  slaves  in  all  the  United  States,  if  you  counted  every  man, 
woman,  and  child,  and  we  know  that  the  number  has  not  in- 
creased during  the  war.  But,  sir,  what  will  be  thought  when  I 
show,  as  I  shall  directly  show  by  official  figures,  that,  so  far  from 
providing  for  four  million  emancipated  slaves,  the  Freedmen's 
Bureau  never  yet  provided  for  a  hundred  thousand,  and,  as  re- 
stricted by  the  proviso  to  the  third  section  of  the  present  bill,  it 
could  never  be  extended,  under  it,  to  a  larger  number.  Is  it  not 
most  extraordinary  that  a  bill  should  be  returned  with  the  veto 
from  the  President  on  the  ground  that  it  provides  for  four  million 
people,  when,  restricted  in  its  operations  as  it  is,  and  having  been 
in  operation  since  March  last,  it  has  never  had  under  its  control 
a  hundred  thousand  ?  I  have  here  an  official  statement  from  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau,  which  I  beg  leave  to  read  in  this  connection : 


182  TEE  TEIRTY-NINTE  CONGRESS. 

"  'The  greatest  number  of  persons  to  whom  rations  were  issued,  including 
the  Commissary  Department,  the  bureau  issues  to  persons  without  the  army, 
is  one  hundred  and  forty-eight  thousand  one  hundred  and  twenty.' 

"  Who  are  they  ?  I  said  there  were  not  a  hundred  thousand 
freedmen  provided  for  by  the  bureau. 

" '  Whites,  57,369 ;  colored,  90,607 ;  Indians,  133.  The  greatest  number  by 
the  bureau  was  49,932,  in  September.  The  total  number  for  December  was 
17,025.' 

"  That  sounds  a  little  different  from  four  millions.  Seventeen 
thousand  and  twenty-five  were  all  that  were  provided  for  by  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau  in  the  month  of  December  last^  the  number 
getting  less  and  less  every  month.  Why  ?  Because,  by  the  kind 
and  judicious  management  of  that  bureau,  places  of  employment 
were  found  for  these  refugees  and  freedmen.  When  the  freedmen 
were  discharged  from  their  masters'  plantations  they  were  assisted 
to  find  places  of  work  elsewhere. 

"  The  President  says,"  continued  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  that  Congress 
never  thought  of  making  these  provisions  for  the  white  people. 
Let  us  see  what  provisions  have  been  made  for  the  white  people. 
Major-General  Fisk,  Commissioner  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  for 
the  State  of  Tennessee,  in  his  testimony  given  before  the  Recon- 
struction Committee,  said : 

"  'During  the  last  year,  the  rations  issued  to  white  people  in  Tennessee 
have  been  much  in  excess  of  those  issued  to  freedmen.  When  I  took  charge 
of  my  district  the  Government  was  feeding  twenty-five  thousand  people ;  in 
round  numbers,  about  seventeen  thousand  five  hundred  white  persons  and 
seven  thousand  blacks.  The  month  preceding  the  establishment  of  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau,  for  rations  alone  for  that  class  of  people  the  sum  of 
$97,000  was  paid.  My  first  efforts  were  to  reduce  the  number  of  those 
beneficiaries  of  the  Government,  to  withhold  the  rations,  and  make  the 
people  self-supporting  as  far  as  possible;  and  in  the  course  of  four  months 
I  reduced  the  monthly  expenses  from  $97,000  to  $5,000.' 

"  In  addition  to  the  objections  already  stated,"  said  the  Presi- 
dent, "  the  fifth  section  of  this  bill  proposes  to  take  away  land 
from  its  former  owners,  without  any  legal  proceedings  first  had." 

"I  regret,"  said  Mr.  Trumbull,  "that  a  statement  like  that 
should  inadvertently  (for  it  must  have  been  inadvertent)  have 
found  a  place  in  this  Veto  Message.     The  fifth  section  of  the  bill 


THE  FREED  MEM.  183 

does  not  propose  to  take  away  lands  from  any  body.     I  will  read 
it,  and  we  snail  see  what  it  is : 

" '  That  the  occupants  of  land  under  Major-General  Sherman's  special  field 
order,  dated  at  Savannah,  January  16,  1865,  are  hereby  confirmed  in  their 
possession.' 

"  Is  not  this  a  different  thing  from  taking  away  land  from  any 
body  ?  Do  you  take  a  thing  away  from  another  person  when  you 
have  it  in  your  possession  already  ?  This  fifth  section,  so  far  from 
taking  land  from  any  body,  provides  simply  for  protecting  the 
occupants  of  the  land  for  three  years  from  the  16th  of  January, 
1865,  a  little  less  than  two  years  from  this  time.  If  the  section 
does  any  thing,  it  simply  prevents  the  restoration  of  this  property 
to  its  former  owners  within  that  period,  except  upon  terms  to  be 
entered  into,  satisfactory  to  the  commissioner,  between  the  occupant 
and  the  former  owner.  This  is  all  there  is  of  it.  It  is  a  very 
different  thing  from  taking  away  land  from  its  former  owners." 

"  Undoubtedly,"  said  the  President,  "  the  freedmen  should  be 
protected  by  the  civil  authorities,  especially  by  the  exercise  of  all 
the  constitutional  powers  of  the  courts  of  the  United  States  and 
of  the  States." 

"  Let  us  see,"  replied  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  how  they  are  protected 
by  the  civil  authority."  After  having  read  from  documents  setting 
forth  laws  in  reference  to  freedmen  in  force  in  Texas  and  Missis- 
sippi, Mr.  Trumbull  continued :  "  I  have  here  a  number  of  com- 
munications of  a  similar  character,  showing  that,  by  the  laws  in 
some  of  the  Southern  States,  a  pass  system  still  exists,  and  that 
the  negro  really  has  no  protection  afforded  him  either  by  the  civil 
authorities  or  judicial  tribunals  of  the  State.  I  have  letters  show- 
ing the  same  thing  in  the  State  of  Maryland,  from  persons  whose 
character  is  vouched  for  as  reliable.  Under  this  state  of  things, 
the  President  tells  us  that  the  freedman  should  be  protected  <by 
the  exercise  of  all  the  constitutional  powers  of  the  courts  of  the 
United  States  and  of  the  States ! ' " 

"  He  also  possesses,"  said  the  President,  referring  to  the  freed- 
man, "  a  perfect  right  to  change  his  place  of  abode ;  and  if,  there- 
fore, he  does  not  find  in  one  community  or  State  a  mode  of  life 
suited  to  his  desires,  or  proper  remuneration  for  his  labor,  he  can 
move  to  another  where  that  labor  is  more  esteemed  and  better  re- 
warded." 


184  THE  THIRTY- NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"  Then,  sir/'  said  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  is  there  no  necessity  for  some 
supervising  care  of  these  people  ?  Are  they  to  be  coldly  told  that 
they  have  a  perfect  right  to  change  their  place  of  abode,  when,  if 
they  are  caught  in  a  strange  neighborhood  without  a  pass,  they  are 
liable  to  be  whipped  ?  when  combinations  exist  against  them  that 
they  shall  not  be  permitted  to  hire  unless  to  their  former  master  ? 
Are  these  people,  knowing  nothing  of  geography,  knowing  not 
where  to  go,  having  never  in  their  lives  been  ten  miles  from  the 
place  where  they  were  born,  these  old  women  and  young  children, 
these  feeble  persons  who  are  turned  off  because  they  can  no  longer 
work,  to  be  told  to  go  and  seek  employment  elsewhere?  and  is  the 
Government  of  the  United  States,  which  has  made  them  free,  to 
stand  by  and  do  nothing  to  save  and  protect  them  ?  Are  they  to 
be  left  to  the  mercy  of  such  legislation  as  that  of  Mississippi,  to 
such  laws  as  exist  in  Texas,  to  such  practices  as  are  tolerated  in 
Maryland  and  in  Kentucky  ?  Sir,  I  think  some  protection  is  neces- 
sary for  them,  and  that  was  the  object  of  this  bureau.  It  was  not 
intended,  and  such  is  not  its  effect,  to  interfere  with  the  ordinary 
administration  of  justice  in  any  State,  not  even  during  the  rebell- 
ion. The  moment  that  any  State  does  justice  and  abolishes  all 
discrimination  between  whites  and  blacks  in  civil  rights,  the  judi- 
cial functions  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  cease. 

"  But,"  continued  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  the  President,  most  strangely 
of  all,  dwells  upon  the  unconstitutionality  of  this  act,  without  ever 
having  alluded  to  that  provision  of  the  Constitution  which  its  ad- 
vocates claim  gives  the  authority  to  pass  it.  Is  it  not  most  extra- 
ordinary that  the  President  of  the  United  States  returns  a  bill 
which  has  passed  Congress,  with  his  objections  to  it,  alleging  it 
to  be  unconstitutional,  and  makes  no  allusion  whatever  in  his 
whole  message  to  that  provision  of  the  Constitution  which,  in  the 
opinion  of  its  supporters,  clearly  gives  the  authority  to  pass  it? 
And  what  is  that?  The  second  clause  of  the  constitutional 
amendment,  which  declares  that  Congress  shall  have  authority 
by  appropriate  legislation  to  enforce  the  article  which  declares 
that  there  shall  be  neither  slavery  nor  involuntary  servitude 
throughout  the  United  States.  If  legislation  be  necessary  to 
protect  the  former  slaves  against  State  laws,  which  allow  them  to 
be  whipped  if  found  away  from  home  without  a  pass,  has  not 
Congress,  under  the  second  clause  of  the  amendment,  authority 
to  provide  it?     What  kind  of  freedom  is  that  which  the  Consti- 


THE  FBEEDMEM.  185 

tution  of  the  United  States  guarantees  to  a  man  that  does  not 
protect  him  from  the  lash  if  he  is  caught  away  from  home  with- 
out a  pass?  And  how  can  we  sit  here  and  discharge  the  consti- 
tutional obligation  that  is  upon  us  to  pass  the  appropriate  legis- 
lation to  protect  every  man  in  the  land  in  his  freedom,  when  we 
know  such  laws  are  being  passed  in  the  South,  if  we  do  nothing 
to  prevent  their  enforcement?  Sir,  so  far  from  the  bill  being 
unconstitutional,  I  should  feel  that  I  had  failed  in  my  constitu- 
tional duty  if  I  did  not  propose  some  measure  that  would  protect 
these  people  in  their  freedom.  And  yet  this  clause  of  the  Con- 
stitution seems  to  have  escaped  entirely  the  observation  of  the 
President. 

"  The  President  objects  to  this  bill  because  it  was  passed  in  the 
absence  of  representation  from  the  rebellious  States.  If  that  ob- 
jection be  valid,  all  our  legislation  affecting  those  States  is  wrong, 
and  has  been  wrong  from  the  beginning.  When  the  rebellion 
broke  out,  in  the  first  year  of  the  war,  we  passed  a  law  for  col- 
lecting a  direct  tax,  and  we  assessed  that  tax  upon  all  the  rebell- 
ious States.  According  to  the  theory  of  the  President,  that  was 
all  wrong,  because  taxation  and  representation  did  not  go  together. 
Those  States  were  not  represented.  Then,  according  to  this  ar- 
gument, (I  will  not  read  all  of  it,)  we  were  bound  to  have  re- 
ceived their  Representatives,  or  else  not  legislate  for  and  tax  them. 
He  insists  they  were  States  in  the  Union  all  the  time,  and  accord- 
ing to  the  Constitution,  each  State  is  entitled  to  at  least  one 
Representative. 

"  If  the  argument  that  Congress  can  not  legislate  for  States 
unrepresented  is  good  now,  it  was  good  during  the  conflict  of 
arms,  for  none  of  the  States  whose  governments  were  usurped 
are  yet  relieved  from  military  control.  If  we  have  no  right  to 
legislate  for  those  States  now,  we  had  no  right  to  impose  the 
direct  tax  upon  them.  We  had  no  right  to  pass  any  of  our 
laws  that  affected  them.  We  had  no  right  to  raise  an  army  to 
march  into  the  rebellious  States  while  they  were  not  represented 
in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States.  We  had  no  right  to  pass 
a  law  declaring  these  States  in  rebellion.  Why?  The  rebels 
were  not  here  to  be  represented  in  the  American  Senate.  We 
had  no  right  to  pass  a  law  authorizing  the  President  to  issue  a 
proclamation  discontinuing  all  intercourse  with  the  people  of 
those  rebellious  States;  and  why?     Because  they  were  not  repre- 


186  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

sented  here.  We  had  no  right  to  blockade  their  coast.  "Why? 
They  were  not  represented  here.  They  are  States,  says  the  Presi- 
dent, and  each  State  is  entitled  to  two  Senators,  and  to  at  least 
one  Representative.  Suppose  the  State  of  South  Carolina  had 
sent  to  Congress,  during  the  war,  a  Representative ;  had  Congress 
nothing  to  do  but  to  admit  him,  if  found  qualified  ?  Must  he  be 
received  because  he  comes  from  a  State,  and  a  State  can  not  go 
out  of  the  Union  ?  Why,  sir,  is  any  thing  more  necessary  than 
to  state  this  proposition  to  show  its  absolute  absurdity  ? " 

The  President  said :  "  The  President  of  the  United  States 
stands  toward  the  country  in  a  somewhat  different  attitude  from 
that  of  any  member  of  Congress.  Each  member  of  Congress  is 
chosen  from  a  single  district  or  State ;  the  President  is  chosen  by 
the  people  of  all  the  States.  As  eleven  States  are  not  at  this 
time  represented  in  either  branch  of  Congress,  it  would  seem  to 
be  his  duty,  on  all  proper  occasions,  to  present  their  just  claims 
to  Congress." 

"If  it  would  not  be  disrespectful,"  said  Mr.  Trumbull,  "I 
should  like  to  inquire  how  many  votes  the  President  got  in  those 
eleven  States.  Sir,  he  is  no  more  the  representative  of  those 
eleven  States  than  I  am,  except  as  he  holds  a  higher  position. 
I  came  here  as  a  Representative  chosen  by  the  State  of  Illinois ; 
but  I  came  here  to  legislate,  not  simply  for  the  State  of  Illinois, 
but  for  the  United  States  of  America,  and  for  South  Carolina  as 
well  as  Illinois.  I  deny  that  we  are  simply  the  Representatives 
of  the  districts  and  States  which  send  us  here,  or  that  we  are 
governed  by  such  narrow  views  that  we  can  not  legislate  for  the 
whole  country ;  and  we  are  as  much  the  Representatives,  and,  in 
this  particular  instance,  receive  as  much  of  the  support  of  those 
eleven  States  as  did  the  President  himself." 

Mr.  Trumbull  finally  remarked :  "  The  President  believes  this 
bill  unconstitutional;  I  believe  it  constitutional.  He  believes 
that  it  will  involve  great  expense ;  I  believe  it  will  save  expense. 
He  believes  that  the  freedmen  will  be  protected  without  it;  I 
believe  he  will  be  tyrannized  over,  abused,  and  virtually  reen- 
slaved,  without  some  legislation  by  the  nation  for  his  protection. 
He  believes  it  unwise ;  I  believe  it  to  be  politic." 

Without  further  debate,  the  vote  was  taken  on  the  question, 
"  Shall  the  bill  pass,  the  objections  of  the  President  of  the  United 
States  notwithstanding?"     The  Senators  voted  as  follows: 


THE  FREED  MEN.  187 

Teas — Messrs.  Anthony,  Brown,  Chandler,  Clark,  Conness,  Cragin,  Cres- 
well,  Fessenden,  Foster,  Grimes,  Harris,  Henderson,  Howard,  Hpwe,  Kirk- 
wood,  Lane  of  Indiana,  Lane  of  Kansas,  Morrill,  Nye,  Poland,  Ponieroy, 
Ramsey,  Sherman,  Sprague,  Sumner,  Trumbull,  Wade,  Williams,  Wilson, 
and  Yates — 30. 

Nays — Messrs.  Buckalew,  Cowan,  Davis,  Dixon,  Doolittle,  Guthrie,  Hen- 
dricks, Johnson,  McDougall,  Morgan,  Nesmith,  Norton,  Kiddle,  Saulsbury, 
Stewart,  Stockton,  Van  Winkle,  and  Willey — 18. 

Absent — Messrs.  Foot  and  Wright — 2. 

The  President  pro  tempore  then  announced,  "  On  this  question 
the  yeas  are  thirty  and  the  nays  are  eighteen.  Two-thirds  of 
the  members  present  not  having  voted  for  the  bill,  it  is  not  a 
law." 


188  THE  THIRTY- NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER    IX. 

THE  CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL  IN  THE  SENATE. 

Duty  of  Congress  consequent  upon  the  Abolition  of  Slavery — Civil 
Eights  Bill  introduced — Reference  to  Judiciary  Committee — Before 
TnE  Senate — Speech  by  Mr.  Trumbull — Mr.  Saulsbury — Mr.  Van 
Winkle — Mr.  Cowan — Mr.  Howard — Mr.  Johnson — Mr.  Davis — Con- 
versations with  Mr.  Trumbull  and  Mr.  Clark — Reply  of  Mr.  John- 
son— Remarks  by  Mr.  Morrill — Mr.  Davis  "wound  up" — Mr.  Guth- 
rie's Speech — Mr.  Hendricks — Reply  of  Mr.  Lane — Mr.  Wilson — 
Mr.  Trumbull's  closing  remarks — Yeas  and  Nays  on  the  passage  of 
the  Bill. 

THE  preceding  Congress  having  proposed  an  amendment  to 
the  Constitution  by  which  slavery  should  be  abolished,  and 
this  amendment  having  been  "ratified  by  three-fourths  of 
the  several  States,"  four  millions  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  United 
States  were  transformed  from  slaves  into  freemen.  To  leave  them 
with  their  shackles  broken  off,  unprotected,  in  a  new  and  unde- 
fined position,  would  have  been  a  sin  against  them  only  surpassed 
in  enormity  by  the  original  crime  of  their  enslavement. 

As  provided  in  the  amendment  itself,  it  devolved  upon  Con- 
gress "to  enforce  this  article  by  appropriate  legislation."  The 
Thirty-ninth  Congress  assembled,  realizing  that  it  devolved  upon 
them  to  define  the  extent  of  the  rights,  privileges,  and  duties 
of  the  freedmen.  That  body  was  not  slow  in  meeting  the  full 
measure  of  its  responsibility. 

Immediately  on  the  reassembling  of  Congress  after  the  holi- 
days, January  5,  1866,  Mr.  Trumbull,  in  pursuance  of  previous 
notice,  introduced  a  bill  "to  protect  all  persons  in  the  United 
States  in  their  civil  rights,  and  furnish  the  means  of  their  vindi- 
cation." This  bill,  having  been  read  twice,  was  referred  to  the 
Committee  on  the  Judiciary. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  -189 

It  was  highly  appropriate  that  this  bill,  involving  the  relations 
of  millions  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  United  States  to  the  Govern- 
ment, should  be  referred  to  this  able  committee,  selected  from 
among  the  men  of  most  distinguished  legal  ability  in  the  Senate. 
Its  members  were  chosen  in  consideration  of  their  high  profes- 
sional ability,  their  long  experience,  and  exalted  standing  as 
jurists.  They  are  the  legal  advisers  of  the  Senate,  whose  report 
upon  constitutional  questions  is  entitled  to  the  highest  consider- 
ation. 

To  such  a  committee  the  Senate  appropriately  referred  the  Civil 
Rights  Bill,  and  the  nation  could  safely  trust  in  their  hands  the 
great  interests  therein  involved. 

The  bill  declares  that  "  there  shall  he  no  discrimination  in  civil 
rights  or  immunities  among  the  inhabitants  of  any  State  or  Ter- 
ritory of  the  United  States  on  account  of  race,  color,  or  previous 
condition  of  slavery ;  but  the  inhabitants,  of  every  race  and  color, 
without  regard  to  any  previous  condition  of  slavery  or  involun- 
tary servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof  the 
party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  shall  have  the  same  right 
to  make  and  enforce  contracts,  to  sue,  be  parties,  and  give  evi- 
dence, to  inherit,  purchase,  lease,  sell,  hold,  and  convey  real  and 
personal  property,  and  to  full  and  equal  benefit  of  all  laws  and 
proceedings  for  the  security  of  person  and  property,  and  shall 
be  subject  to  like  punishment,  pains,  and  penalties,  and  to  none 
other,  any  law,  statute,  ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom  to  the 
contrary  notwithstanding.  Any  person  who,  under  cover  of  any 
law,  statute,  ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom,  shall  subject,  or 
cause  to  be  subjected,  any  inhabitant  of  any  State  or  Territory 
to  the  deprivation  of  any  right  secured  or  protected  by  the  act, 
or  to  different  punishment,  pains,  or  penalties,  on  account  of  such 
person  having  at  any  time  been  held  in  a  condition  of  slavery  or 
involuntary  servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof 
the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  or  by  reason  of  his  color 
or  race,  than  is  prescribed  for  the  punishment  of  white  persons, 
is  to  be  deemed  guilty  of  a  misdemeanor,  and,  on  conviction,  to 
be  punished  by  a  fine  not  exceeding  $1,000,  or  imprisonment  not 
exceeding  one  year,  or  both,  in  the  discretion  of  the  court." 

Other  provisions  of  the  bill  relate  to  the  courts  which  shall 
have  jurisdiction  of  cases  which  arise  under  the  act,  and  the  means 
to  be  employed  in  its  enforcement. 


190  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

That  no  question  might  arise  as  to  the  constitutionality  of  the 
law,  all  the  provisions  which  relate  to  the  enforcement  of  the  act 
were  borrowed  from  the  celebrated  Fugitive  Slave  Law,  enacted 
in  1850.  It  was  a  happy  thought  to  compel  the  enemies  of  the 
negro  themselves,  as  judges,  to  pronounce  in  favor  of  the  consti- 
tutionality of  this  ordinance.  It  is  an  admirable  illustration  of 
the  progress  of  the  age,  that  the  very  instruments  which  were 
used  a  few  years  before  to  rivet  tighter  the  chains  of  the  slave, 
should  be  employed  to  break  those  very  chains  to  fragments.  It 
shall  forever  stand  forth  to  the  honor  of  American  legislation  that 
it  attained  to  more  than  poetic  justice  in  using  the  very  means 
once  employed  to  repress  and  crush  the  negro  for  his  defense  and 
elevation. 

Within  less  than  a  week  after  the  reference  of  this  bill  to  the 
Judiciary  Committee,  it  was  reported  back,  with  no  alteration 
save  a  few  verbal  amendments.  On  account  of  pressure  of  other 
business,  it  did  not  come  up  for  formal  consideration  and  discus- 
sion in  the  Senate  until  the  29th  of  January.  On  that  day  Mr. 
Trumbull,  having  called  up  the  bill  for  the  consideration  of  the 
Senate,  said: 

"  I  regard  the  bill  to  which  the  attention  of  the  Senate  is  now 
called,  as  the  most  important  measure  that  has  been  under  its 
consideration  since  the  adoption  of  the  constitutional  amendment 
abolishing  slavery.  That  amendment  declared  that  all  persons 
in  the  United  States  should  be  free.  This  measure  is  intended 
to  give  effect  to  that  declaration,  and  secure  to  all  persons  within 
the  United  States  practical  freedom.  There  is  very  little  impor- 
tance in  the  general  declaration  of  abstract  truths  and  principles 
unless  they  can  be  carried  into  effect,  unless  the  persons  who  are 
to  be  affected  by  them  have  some  means  of  availing  themselves 
of  their  benefits.  Of  what  avail  wras  the  immortal  declaration 
'that  all  men  are  created  equal;  that  they  are  endowed  by  their 
Creator  with  certain  inalienable  rights ;  that  among  these  are  life, 
liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness/  and  'that  to  secure  these 
rights  governments  are  instituted  among  men/  to  the  millions 
of  the  African  race  in  this  country  who  were  ground  down  and 
degraded,  and  subjected  to  a  slavery  more  intolerable  and  cruel 
than  the  world  ever  before  knew  ?  Of  what  avail  was  it  to  the 
citizen  of  Massachusetts,  who,  a  few  years  ago,  went  to  South 
Carolina  to  enforce  a  constitutional  right  in  court,  that  the  Con- 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  191 

stitution  of  the  United  States  declared  that  the  citizens  of  each 
State  shall  be  entitled  to  all  the  privileges  and  immunities  of 
citizens  in  the  several  States  ?  And  of  what  avail  will  it  now 
be  that  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  has  declared  that 
slavery  shall  not  exist,  if  in  the  late  slaveholding  States  laws  are 
to  be  enacted  and  enforced  depriving  persons  of  African  descent 
of  privileges  which  are  essential  to  freemen  ? 

"  It  is  the  intention  of  this  bill  to  secure  those  rights.  The 
laws  in  the  slaveholding  States  have  made  a  distinction  against 
persons  of  African  descent  on  account  of  their  color,  whether  free 
or  slave.  I  have  before  me  the  statutes  of  Mississippi.  They 
provide  that  if  any  colored  person,  any. free  negro  or  mulatto, 
shall  come  into  that  State  for  the  purpose  of  residing  there,  he 
shall  be  sold  into  slavery  for  life.  If  any  person  of  African 
descent  residing  in  that  State  travels  from  one  county  to  another 
without  having  a  pass  or  a  certificate  of  his  freedom,  he  is  liable 
to  be  committed  to  jail,  and  to  be  dealt  with  as  a  person  who  is 
in  the  State  without  authority.  Other  provisions  of  the  statute 
prohibit  any  negro  or  mulatto  from  having  fire-arms;  and  one 
provision  o'f  the  statute  declares  that  for  '  exercising  the  functions 
of  a  minister  of  the  Gospel,  free  negroes  and  mulattoes,  on  con- 
viction, may  be  punished  by  any  number  of  lashes  not  exceeding 
thirty-nine,  on  the  bare  back,  and  shall  pay  the  costs."  Other 
provisions  of  the  statute  of  Mississippi  prohibit  a  free  negro  or 
mulatto  from  keeping  a  house  of  entertainment,  and  subject  him 
to  trial  before  two  justices  of  the  peace  and  five  slaveholders  for 
violating  the  provisions  of  this  law.  The  statutes  of  South  Caro- 
lina make  it  a  highly  penal  offense  for  any  person,  white  or 
colored,  to  teach  slaves;  and  similar  provisions  are  to  be  found 
running  through  all  the  statutes  of  the  late  slaveholding  States. 

"  When  the  constitutional  amendment  was  adopted  and  slavery 
abolished,  all  these  statutes  became  null  and  void,  because  they 
were  all  passed  in  aid  of  slavery,  for  the  purpose  of  maintaining 
and  supporting  it.  Since  the  abolition  of  slavery,  the  Legis- 
latures which  have  assembled  in  the  insurrectionary  States  have 
passed  laws  relating  to  the  freedmen,  and  in  nearly  all  the  States 
they  have  discriminated  against  them.  They  deny  them  certain 
rights,  subject  them  to  severe  penalties,  and  still  impose  upon 
them  the  very  restrictions  which  were  imposed  upon  them  in  con- 
sequence of  the  existence  of  slavery,  and  before  it  was  abolished. 


192  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

The  purpose  of  the  bill  under  consideration  is  to  destroy  all 
these  discriminations,  and  to  carry  into  effect  the  constitutional 
amendment." 

After  having  stated  somewhat  at  length  the  grounds  upon 
which  he  placed  this  bill,  Mr.  Trumbull  closed  by  saying : 
"Most  of  the  provisions  of  this  bill  are  copied  from  the  late 
Fugitive  Slave  Act,  adopted  in  1850  for  the  purpose  of  returning 
fugitives  from  slavery  into  slavery  again.  The  act  that  was 
passed  at  that  time  for  the  purpose  of  punishing  persons  who 
should  aid  negroes  to  escape  to  freedom  is  now  to  be  applied  by 
the  provisions  of  this  bill  to  the  punishment  of  those  who  shall 
undertake  to  keep  them  in  slavery.  Surely  we  have  the  author- 
ity to  enact  a  law  as  efficient  in  the  interests  of  freedom,  now  that 
freedom  prevails  throughout  the  country,  as  we  had  in  the  interest 
of  slavery  when  it  prevailed  in  a  portion  of  the  country." 

Mr.  Saulsbury  took  an  entirely  different  view  of  the  subject 
under  consideration :  "  I  regard  this  bill,"  he  said,  "  as  one  of  the 
most  dangerous  that  was  ever  introduced  into  the  Senate  of  the 
United  States,  or  to  which  the  attention  of  the  American  people 
was  ever  invited.  During  the  last  four  or  five  years,  I  have  sat 
in  this  chamber  and  witnessed  the  introduction  of  bills  into  this 
body  which  I  thought  obnoxious  to  many  very  grave  and  serious 
constitutional  objections ;  but  I  have  never,  since  I  have  been  a 
member  of  the  body,  seen  a  bill  so  fraught  with  danger,  so  full 
of  mischief,  as  the  bill  now  under  consideration. 

"  I  shall  not  follow  the  honorable  Senator  into  a  consideration 
of  the  manner  in  which  slaves  were  treated  in  the  Southern  States, 
nor  the  privileges  that  have  been  denied  to  them  by  the  laws  of  the 
States.  I  think  the  time  for  shedding  tears  over  the  poor  slave  has 
well  nigh  passed  in  this  country.  The  tears  which  the  honest  white 
people  of  this  couutry  have  been  made  to  shed  from  the  oppres- 
sive acts  of  this  Government,  in  its  various  departments,  during 
the  last  four  years,  call  more  loudly  for  my  sympathies  than  those 
tears  which  have  been  shedding  and  dropping  and  dropping  for 
the  last  twenty  years  in  reference  to  the  poor,  oppressed  slave — 
dropping  from  the  eyes  of  strong-minded  women  and  weak- 
minded  men,  until,  becoming  a  mighty  flood,  they  have  swept 
away,  in  their  resistless  force,  every  trace  of  constitutional  liberty 
in  this  country. 

"I  Suppose  it  is  a  foregone  conclusion  that  this  measure,  as 


CI  VIL ;  EIGHTS  BILL.  193 

one  of  a  series  of  measures,  is  to  be  passed  through  this  Congress 
regardless  of  all  consequences.  But  the  day  that  the  President 
of  the  United  States  places  his  approval  and  signature  to  that 
Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill,  and  to  this  bill,  he  will  have  signed 
two  acts  more  dangerous  to  the  liberty  of  his  countrymen,  more 
disastrous  to  the  citizens  of  this  country,  than  all  the  acts  which 
have  been  passed  from  the  foundation  of  the  Government  to  the 
present  hour;  and  if  we  on  this  side  of  the  chamber  manifest 
anxiety  and  interest  in  reference  to  these  bills,  and  the  questions 
involved  in  them,  it  is  because,  having  known  this  population 
all  our  lives,  knowing  them  in  one  hour  of  our  infancy  better 
than  you  gentlemen  have  known  them  all  your  lives,  we  feel 
compelled,  by  a  sense  of  duty,  earnestly  and  importunately,  it 
may  be,  to  appeal  to  the  judgment  of  the  American  Senate,  and 
to  reach,  if  possible,  the  judgment  of  the  great  mass  of  the 
American  people,  and  invoke  their  attention  to  the  awful  conse- 
quences involved  in  measures  of  this  character.  Sir,  stop,  stop! 
the  mangled,  bleeding  body  of  the  Constitution  of  your  country 
lies  in  your  path ;  you  are  treading  upon  its  bleeding  body  when 
you  pass  these  laws." 

After  having  argued  at  considerable  length  that  this  bill  would 
be  a  most  unconstitutional  interference  on  the  part  of  the  Federal 
Government  with  "  the  powers  of  the  States  under  the  Federal 
Constitution,"  the  Senator  from  Delaware  thus  concluded  : 

"  Sir,  from  early  boyhood  I  was  taught  to  love  and  revere  the 
Federal  Union  and  those  who  made  it.  In  early  childhood  I 
read  the  words  of  the  Father  of  his  country,  in  which  he  ex- 
horted the  peojDle  to  cling  to  the  union  of  these  States  as  the 
palladium  of  liberty,  and  my  young  heart  bounded  with  joy  in 
reading  the  burning  words  of  lofty  patriotism.  I  was  taught  in 
infancy  to  admire,  as  far  as  the  infant  mind  could  admire,  our 
free  system  of  government,  Federal  and  State;  and  I  heard  the 
old  men  say  that  the  wit  of  man  never  devised  a  better  or  more 
lovely  system  of  government.  When  I  arrived  at  that  age  when 
I  could  study  and  reflect  for  myself,  the  teachings  of  childhood 
were  approved  by  the  judgment  of  the  man. 

"I  have  seen  how  under  this  Union  we  had  become  great  in 
the  eyes  of  all  nations ;  and  I  see  now,  notwithstanding  the  hor- 
rible afflictions  of  war,  if  we  can  have  wisdom  in  council   and 

sincere  purpose  to  subserve  the  good  of  the  whole  people  of  the 
13 


194-  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

United  States,  though  much  that  was  clear  to  us  has  been  blasted 
as  by  the  pestilence  that  walketh  in  darkness  and  the  destruction 
that  wasteth  at  noonday,  how  we  might,  in  the  providence  of 
God,  resume  our  former  position  among  the  nations  of  the  earth, 
and  command  the  respect  of  the  whole  civilized  world.  But,  sir, 
to-day,  in  viewing  and  in  considering  this  bill,  the  thought  has 
occurred  to  me,  how  happy  were  the  founders  of  our  Federal  sys- 
tem of  government,  that  they  had  been  taken  from  the  council 
chambers  of  this  nation  and  from  among  their  fellow-men  before 
bills  of  this  character  were  seriously  presented  for  legislative  con- 
sideration.    Happily  for  them,  they  sleep  their  last  sleep,  and — 

" '  How  sleep  the  brave  who  sink  to  rest, 
By  all  their  country's  wishes  blest! 
When  Spring,  with  dewy  fingers  cold, 
Returns  to  deck  their  hallowed  mold, 
She  there  shall  dress  a  sweeter  sod 
Than  Fancy's  feet  have  ever  trod. 

"'By  fairy  hands  their  knell  is  rung; 
By  forms  unseen  their  dirge  is  sung; 
There  Honor  comes,  a  pilgrim  gray, 
To  bless  the  turf  that  wraps  their  clay; 
And  Freedom  shall  henceforth  repair 
And  dwell  a  weeping  hermit  there.'  " 

On  the  following  day,  Mr.  Van  Winkle,  of  West  Virginia, 
addressed  the  Senate  on  the  merits  of  the  bill.  He  thought  that 
the  objects  sought  could  only  be  attained  through  an  amendment 
to  the  Constitution.     He  moreover  said  : 

"  We  hear  a  great  deal  about  the  sentence  from  the  Declaration 
of  Independence,  that  'all  men  are  created  equal.'  I  am  willing 
to  admit  that  all  men  are  created  equal ;  but  how  are  they  equal  ? 
Can  a  citizen  of  France,  for  instance,  by  going  into  England,  be 
entitled  to  all  the  rights  of  a  citizen  of  that  country,  or  by  com- 
ing into  this  country  acquire  all  the  rights  of  an  American,  unless 
he  is  naturalized?  Can  a  citizen  of  our  country,  by  going  into 
any  other,  become  entitled  to  the  rights  of- a  citizen  there?  If 
not,  it  may  be  said  that  they  are  not  equal.  I  believe  that  the 
division  of  men  into  separate  communities,  and  their  living  in  so- 
ciety and  association  with  their  fellows,  as  they  do,  arc  both  divine 
institutions,  and  that,  consequently,  the  authors  of  the  Declara- 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  105 

tion  of  Independence  could  have  meant  nothing  more  than  that 
the  rights  of  citizens  of  any  community  are  equal  to  the  rights 
of  all  other  citizens  of  that  community.  Whenever  all  commu- 
nities are  conducted  in  accordance  with  these  principles,  these  very 
conditions  of  their  prosperous  existence,  then  all  mankind  will 
be  equal,  each  enjoying  his  equality  in  his  own  community,  and 
not  till  then.  Therefore,  I  assert  that  there  is  no  right  that  can 
be  exercised  by  any  community  of  society  more  perfect  than  that 
of  excluding  from  citizenship  or  membership  those  who  are  ob- 
jectionable. If  a  little  society  is  formed  for  a  benevolent,  literary, 
or  any  other  purpose,  the  members  immediately  exercise,  and 
claim  the  right  to  exercise,  that  right;  they  determine  who  shall 
come  into  their  community.  We  have  the  right  to  determine 
rvTho  shall  be  members  of  our  community ;  and  much  as  has  been 
said  here  about  what  God  has  done,  and  about  our  obligations 
to  the  Almighty  in  reference  to  this  matter,  I  do  not  see  where 
it  comes  in  that  we  are  bound  to  receive  into  our  community 
those  whose  minglings  with  us  might  be  detrimental  to  our  in- 
terests. I  do  not  believe  that  a  superior  race  is  bound  to  receive 
among  it  those  of  an  inferior  race,  if  the  mingling  of  them  can 
only  tend  to  the  detriment  of  the  mass.  I  do  not  mean  strict 
miscegenation,  but  I  mean  the  mingling  of  two  races  in  society, 
associating  from  time  to  time  with  each  other." 

Mr.  Cowan,  of  Pennsylvania,  spoke  against  the  bill..  He 
said:  "The  identical  question  came  up  in  my  State— the  ques- 
tion whether  the  negro  was  a  citizen,  and  whether  he  possessed 
political  power  in  that  State — and  it  was  there  decided  that  he 
was  not  one  of  the  original  corporators,  that  he  was  not  one  of 
the  freemen  who  originally  possessed  political  power,  and  that 
they  had  never,  by  any  enactment  or  by  any  act  of  theirs,  ad- 
mitted him  into  a  participation  of  that  power,  except  so  far  as 
to  tax  him  for  the  support  of  Government.  And,  Mr.  President, 
I  think  it  a  most  important  question,  and  particularly  a  most 
important  question  for  the  Pacific  coast,  and  those  States  which 
lie  upon  it,  as  to  whether  this  door  shall  now  be  thrown  open  to 
the  Asiatic  population.  If  it  be,  there  is  an  end  to  republican 
government  there,  because  it  is  very  well  ascertained  that  those 
people  have  no  appreciation  of  that  form  of  government ;  it  seems 
to  be  obnoxious  to  their  very  nature;  they  seem  to  be  incapable 
either  of  understanding  it  or  of  carrying  it  out;  and  I  can  not 


196  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

consent  to  say  that  California,  or  Oregon,  or  Colorado,  or  Ne- 
vada, or  any  of  those  States,  shall  be  given  over  to  an  irruption 
of  Chinese.     I,  for  my  part,  protest  against  it. 

"There  is  a  great  deal  more  in  this  bill  that  is  exceedingly 
objectionable.  It  is  the  first  time,  I  think,  in  the  history  of  civ- 
ilized legislation,  that  a  judicial  officer  has  been  held  up  and  sub- 
jected to  a  criminal  punishment  for  that  which  may  have  been 
a  conscientious  discharge  of  his  duty.  It  is,  I  say,  the  first  case 
that  I  know  of,  in  the  legislation  of  modern  and  civilized  nations, 
where  a  bill  of  indictment  is  to  take  the  place  of  a  writ  of  error, 
and  where  a  mistake  is  to  be  tortured  into  a  crime. 

"  I  may  state  that  I  have  another  objection  to  this  bill  at  the 
present  time ;  and  that  is,  that  the  people  of  several  States  in  the 
Union  are  not  represented  here,  and  yet  this  law  is  mainly  to  ope- 
rate upon  those  people.  I  think  it  would  be  at  least  decent,  respect- 
ful, if  we  desire  to  maintain  and  support  this  Government  on  the 
broad  foundation  upon  which  it  was  laid— namely,  the  consent  of 
the  governed — that  we  should  wait,  at  any  rate,  until  the  people 
upon  whom  it  is  to  operate  have  a  voice  in  these  halls." 

Mr.  Cowan  then  proceeded  in  a  somewhat  "  devious  course," 
as  it  was  characterized  by  another  Senator,  to  make  remarks 
upon  the  subject  of  reconstruction.  Many  questions  and  remarks 
were  interposed  by  other  Senators,  giving  the  discussion  an  ex- 
ceedingly colloquial  style. 

At  length,  Mr.  Howard,  of  Michigan,  having  obtained  the 
floor,  spoke  in  favor  of  the  bill.  He  said :  "  If  I  understand 
correctly  the  interpretation  given  by  several  Senators  to  the  con- 
stitutional amendment  abolishing  slavery,  it  is  this  :  that  the  sole 
effect  of  it  is  to  cut  and  sever  the  mere  legal  ligament  by  which 
the  person  and  the  service  of  the  slave  was  attached  to  his  master, 
and  that  beyond  this  particular  office  the  amendment  does  not  go ; 
that  it  can  have  no  effect  whatever  upon  the  condition  of  the  eman- 
cipated black  in  any  other  respect.  In  other  words,  they  hold  that 
it  relieves  him  from  his  so-called  legal  obligation  to  render  his 
personal  service  to  his  master  without  compensation,  and  there 
leaves  him,  totally,  irretrievably,  and  without  any  power  on  the 
part  of  Congress  to  look  after  his  well-being  from  the  moment  of 
this  mockery  of  emancipation.  Sir,  such  was  not  the  intention  of 
the  friends  of  this  amendment  at  the  time  of  its  initiation  here, 
and  at  the  time  of  its  adoption ;  and  I  undertake  to  say  that  it  is 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  197 

not  the  construction  which,  is  given  to  it  by  the  bar  throughout 
the  country,  and  much  less  by  the  liberty-loving  people. 

"  But  let  us  look  more  closely  at  this  narrow  construction. 
Where  does  it  leave  us?  We  are  told  that  the  amendment 
simply  relieves  the  slave  from  the  obligation  to  render  service  to 
his  master.  What  is  a  slave  in  contemplation  of  American  law, 
in  contemplation  of  the  laws  of  all  the  slave  States  ?  We  know 
full  well ;  the  history  of  two  hundred  years  teaches  us  that  he 
had  no  rights,  nor  nothing  which  he  could  call  his  own.  He 
had  not  the  right  to  become  a  husband  or  a  father  in  the  eye  of 
the  law ;  he  had  no  child  ;  he  was  not  at  liberty  to  indulge  the 
natural  'affections  of  the  human  heart  for  children,  for  wife,  or 
even  for  friend.  He  owned  no  property,  because  the  law  pro- 
hibited him.  He  could  not  take  real  or  personal  estate  either  by 
sale,  by  grant,  or  by  descent  or  inheritance.  He  did  not  own  the 
bread  he  earned  and  ate.  He  stood  upon  the  face  of  the  earth 
completely  isolated  from  the  society  in  which  he  happened  to  be. 
He  was  nothing  but  a  chattel,  subject  to  the  will  of  his  owner, 
and  unprotected  in  his  rights  by  the  law  of  the  State  where  he 
happened  to  live.  His  rights,  did  I  say  ?  No,  sir,  I  use  inap- 
propriate language.  He  had  no  rights ;  he  was  an  animal ;  he 
was  property,  a  chattel.  The  Almighty,  according  to  the  ideas 
of  the  times,  had  made  him  to  be  property,  a  chattel,  and  not  a 
man. 

"  Now,  sir,  it  is  not  denied  that  this  relation  of  servitude  be- 
tween the  former  negro  slave  and  his  master  was  actually  severed 
by  this  amendment.  But  the  absurd  construction  now  forced  upon 
it  leaves  him  without  family,  without  property,  without  the  im- 
plements of  husbandry,  and  even  without  the  right  to  acquire  or 
use  any  instrumentalities  of  carrying  on  the  industry  of  which 
he  may  be  capable ;  it  leaves  him  without  friend  or  support,  and 
even  without  the  clothes  to  cover  his  nakedness.  He  is  a  waif 
upon  the  current  of  time ;  he  has  nothing  that  belongs  to  him  on 
the  face  of  the  earth,  except  solely  his  naked  person.  And  here, 
in  this  State,  we  are  called  upon  to  abandon  the  poor  creature 
whom  we  have  emancipated.  We  are  coolly  told  that  he  has  no 
right  beyond  this,  and  we  are  told  that  under  this  amendment  the 
power  of  the  State  within  whose  limits  he  happens  to  be  is  not 
at  all  restrained  in  respect  to  him,  and  that  the  State,  through  its 
Legislature,  may  at  any  time  declare  him  to  be  a  vagrant,  and 


198  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

as  such  commit  him  to  jail,  or  assign  him  to  uncompensated 
service." 

Mr.  Johnson,  of  Maryland,  made  a  speech,  in  which  he  ex- 
presscd  himself  as  in  favor  of  conferring  citizenship  upon  the 
negro,  and  yet  unable  to  vote  for  this  bill  from  the  opinion  he 
entertained  on  "the  question  of  power."  He  referred  to  the 
Dred  Scott  and  other  decisions,  and  showed  their  bearing  upon 
the  legislation  now  proposed.  He  said :  "  I  have  been  exceed- 
ingly anxious  individually  that  there  should  be  some  definition 
which  will  rid  this  class  of  our  people  from  that  objection.  If 
the  Supreme  Court  decision  is  a  binding  one,  and  will  be  followed 
in  the  future,  this  law  which  we  are  now  about  to  pass  will  be 
held,  of  course,  to  be  of  no  avail,  as  far  as  it  professes  to  define 
what  citizenship  is,  because  it  gives  the  rights  of  citizenship  to  all 
persons  without  distinction  of  color,  and,  of  course,  embraces  Af- 
ricans or  descendants  of  Africans." 

He  referred  to  a  precedent  when  Congress  had  conferred  the 
rights  of  citizenship :  "  The  citizens  of  Texas,  who,  of  course, 
were  aliens,  it  has  never  been  doubted  became  citizens  of  the 
United  States  by  the  annexation  of  Texas ;  and  that  was  not 
done  by  treaty,  it  was  done  by  legislation.  If  the  power  was  in 
Congress  by  legislation  to  make  citizens  of  all  the  inhabitants  of 
the  State  of  Texas,  why  is  it  not  in  the  power  of  Congress  to 
make  citizens  by  legislation  of  all  who  are  inhabitants  of  the 
United  States,  and  who  are  not  citizens  ?  That  is  what  this  bill 
does,  or  what  it  proposes  to  do.  There  are  within  the  United 
States  millions  of  people  who  are  not  citizens,  according  to  the 
view  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States.  Ought  they  to 
be  citizens?  I  think  they  ought.  I  think  it  is  an  anomaly  that 
says  there  shall  not  be  the  rights  of  citizenship  to  any  of  the  in- 
habitants of  any  State  of  the  United  States. 

"  While  they  were  slaves,  it  was  a  very  different  question ;  but 
now,  when  slavery  is  terminated,  and  by  terminating  it  you  have 
got  rid  of  the  only  obstacle  m  the  way  of  citizenship,  two  questions 
arise :  First,  whether  that  fact  itself  does  not  make  them  citizens  ? 
Before  they  were  not  citizens,  because  of  slavery,  and  only  because 
of  slavery.  Slavery  abolished,  why  are  they  not  just  as  much  cit- 
izens as  they  would  have  been  if  slavery  had  never  existed  ?  My 
opinion  is  that  they  become  citizens,  and  I  hold  that  opinion  so 
strongly  that  I  should  consider  it  unnecessary  to  legislate  on  the 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  199 

subject  at  all,  as  far  as  that  class  is  concerned,  but  for  the  ruling 
of  the  Supreme  Court  to  which  I  have  adverted." 

Mr.  Davis,  of  Kentucky,  spoke  against  the  propriety  and  con- 
stitutionality of  making  all  negroes  citizens  of  the  United  States. 
He  said :  "  There  never  was  a  colony  before  the  Declaration  of 
Independence,  and  there  never  was  a  State  after  the  Declaration 
of  Independence,  up  to  the  time  of  the  adoption  of  the  Constitu- 
tion, so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  learn  by  the  slight  historical 
examination  which  I  have  given  to  the  subject,  that  ever  made  or 
attempted  to  make  any  other  person  than  a  person  who  belonged 
to  one  of  the  nationalities  of  Europe  a  citizen.  I  invoke  the  chair- 
man of  the  committee  to  give  me  an  instance,  to  point  to  any  his- 
tory or  any  memento,  where  a  negro,  although  that  negro  was  born 
in  America,  was  ever  made  a  citizen  of  either  of  the  States  of  the 
United  States  before  the  adoption  of  this  Constitution.  The  whole 
material  out  of  which  citizens  were  made  previous  to  the  adoption 
of  the  present  Constitution  was  from  the  European  nationalities, 
from  the  Caucasian  race,  if  I  may  use  the  term.  I  deny  that  a 
single  citizen  was  ever  made  by  one  of  the  States  out  of  the  negro 
race.  I  deny  that  a  single  citizen  was  ever  made  by  one  of  the 
States  out  of  the  Mongolian  race.  I  controvert  that  a  single  cit- 
zen  was  ever  made  by  one  of  the  States  out  of  the  Chinese  race, 
out  of  the  Hindoos,  or  out  of  any  other  race  of  people  but  the 
Caucasian  race  of  Europe. 

"  I  come,  then,  to  this  position :  that  whenever  the  States,  after 
the  Declaration  of  Independence  and  before  the  present  Constitu- 
tion was  adopted,  legislated  in  relation  to  citizenship,  or  acted  in 
their  governments  in  relation  to  citizenship,  the  subject  of  that 
legislation  or  that  action  was  the  Caucasian  race  of  Europe ;  that 
none  of  the  inferior  races  of  any  kind  were  intended  to  be  embraced 
or  were  embraced  by  this  work  of  Government  in  manufacturing 
citizens." 

Mr.  Trumbull  inquired,  "Will  the  Senator  from  Kentucky 
allow  me  to  ask  him  if  he  means  to  assert  that  negroes  were  not 
citizens  of  any  of  these  colonies  before  the  adoption  of  the  Con- 
stitution?" 

"  I  say  they  were  not,"  said  Mr.  Davis. 

"  Does  the  Senator  wish  any  authority  to  show  that  they  were?" 
asked  Mr.  Trumbull. 

"When  I  get  through,"  said  Mr.  Davis,  "you  can  answer  me." 


200  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS: 

Mr.  Trumbull  replied  :  "  I  understood  the  Senator  to  challenge 
me  to  produce  any  proof  on  that  point,  and  I  thought  he  would 
like  to  have  it  in  his  speech.  I  can  assert  to  him  that  by  a  solemn 
decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  North  Carolina,  they  were  citi- 
zens before  the  adoption  of  the  Constitution." 

"  If  the  honorable  Senator  will  allow  me,"  said  Mr.  Davis,  "  I 
will  get  along  with  my  remarks." 

"I  think  you  will  get  along  better,"  replied  Mr.  Trumbull, 
"  by  not  being  exposed  in  your  statements." 

"  The  honorable  Senator  is  full  of  conceit,  but  I  have  seen  less 
conceit  with  a  great  deal  more  brains,"  said  Mr.  Davis,  who  then 
proceeded  "  to  throw  up  "  what  he  termed  "  the  main  buttress  for 
the  defense  of  the  positions"  that  he  took. 

"My  main  position,"  said  he,  "is,  that  no  native-born  person 
of  the  United  States,  of  any  race  or  color,  can  be  admitted  a 
citizen  of  the  United  States  by  Congress  under  the  power 
conferred  in  relation  to  naturalization  by  the  Constitution  upon 
Congress." 

After  reading  some  authorities,  the  Senator  proceeded  to  say: 
"  A  grave  hallucination  in  this  day  is  to  claim  all  power ;  and  a 
minor  error  is  that  every  thing  which  passion,  or  interest,  or  party 
power,  or  any  selfish  claims  may  represent  to  the  judgment  or 
imagination  of  gentlemen  who  belong  to  strong  parties,  to  be 
necessary  or  useful  for  the  good  and  the  domination  of  such  par- 
ties, is  seized  upon  in  defiance  of  a  fair  construction  of  language, 
in  outrage  of  the  plain  meaning  of  the  Constitution.  That  is  not 
the  rule  by  which  our  Constitution  is  to  be  interpreted.  It  is  not 
the  rule  by  which  it  is  to  be  administered.  On  the  contrary,  if 
the  able,  honorable,  and  clear-headed  Senator  from  Illinois  would 
do  himself  and  his  country  the  justice  to  place  himself  in  the 
position  of  the  framcrs  of  the  Constitution ;  if  he  would  look  all 
around  on  the  circumstances  and  connections  of  that  day,  on  the 
purposes  of  those  men  not  only  in  relation  to  forming  a  more 
perfect  Union,  but  also  in  relation  to  securing  the  blessings  of  life, 
liberty,  and  property  ,to  themselves  and  their  posterity  forever ; 
if  the  honorable  Senator  would  construe  the  Constitution  accor- 
ding to  the  light,  the  sacred  and  bright  light  which  such  sur- 
rounding circumstances  would  throw  upon  his  intellect,  it  seems 
to  me  that  he  would  at  once  abandon  this  abominable  bill,  and 
would  also  ask  to  withdraw  its  twin  sister  from  the  other  House 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  201 

that  both  might  be  smothered  here  together  upon  the  altar  of  the 
Constitution  and  of  patriotism." 

At  the  close  of  Mr.  Davis'  speech,  much  debate  and  conversa- 
tion ensued  among  various  Senators  upon  a  proposed  amendment 
by  Mr.  Lane,  of  Kansas,  by  which  Indians  "  under  tribal  author- 
ity" should  be  excluded  from  the  benefits  conferred  by  this  bill. 
After  this  question  was  disposed  of,  Mr.  Davis  was  drawn  out  in 
another  speech  by  what  seemed  to  him  to  be  the  necessity  of  de- 
fending some  positions  which  he  had  assumed.     He  said : 

"  I  still  reitorate  the  position  that  the  negro  is  not  a  citizen  here 
according  to  the  essential  fundamental  principles  of  our  system; 
but  whether  he  be  a  citizen  or  not,  he  is  not  a  foreigner,  and  no 
man,  white  or  black,  or  red  or  mixed,  can  be  made  a  citizen  by 
naturalization  unless  he  is  a  foreigner." 

Mr.  Clark,  of  New  Hampshire,  interposed :  "  I  wish  the  Sen- 
ator from  Kentucky  would  tell  us  what  constitutes  a  citizen  under 
the  Constitution." 

"  A  foreigner  is  not  a  citizen  in  the  fullest  sense  of  the  word  at 
all,"  said  Mr.  Davis. 

"  The  Senator  is  now  telling  us,"  said  Mr.  Clark,  "  who  is  not 
a  citizen,  but  my  question  is,  What  constitutes  a  citizen  ?  " 

"  I  leave  that  to  the  exercise  of  your  own  ingenuity,"  replied 
Mr.  Davis. 

"  That  is  it,"  said  Mr.  Clark.  "  Washington  is  dead ;  Marshall 
is  dead;  Story  is  dead;  I  hoped  the  Senator  from  Kentucky 
would  have  enlightened  us.  He  says  a  negro  is  not  a  citizen,  and 
a  negro  is  not  a  foreigner  and  can  not  be  made  a  citizen.  He 
says  that  a  person  who  might  be  and  was  a  citizen  before  the 
Constitution,  is  not  a  citizen  since  the  Constitution  was  adopted. 
What  right  was  taken  away  from  him  by  the  Constitution  that 
disqualifies  him  from  being  a  citizen?  The  free  negroes  in  my 
State,  before  the  Constitution  was  adopted,  were  citizens." 

Mr.  Davis,  having  admitted  that  free  negroes  were  citizens  be- 
fore the  Constitution  in  New  Hampshire,  Mr.  Clark  said : 

"  I  desired  that  the  Senator  should  tell  me  what,  in  his  opinion, 
constituted  a  citizen  under  the  Constitution." 

Mr.  Davis  replied :  "  I  will  answer  the  honorable  Senator.  We 
sometimes  answer  a  positive  question  by  declaring  what  a  thing  is 
not.     Now,  the  honorable  Senator  asks  me  what  a  citizen  is.     It 


202  THE  THIRTY- NINTH  CONGRESS 

is  easier  to  answer  what  it  is  riot  than  what  it  is,  and  I  say  that 
a  negro  is  not  a  citizen."  ' 

"  Well,  that  is  a  lucid  definition,"  said  Mr.  Clark. 

"  Sufficient  for  the  subject,"  said  Mr.  Davis. 

"  That  is  begging  the  question,"  Mr.  Clark  replied.  "  I  wanted 
to  find  why  a  negro  was  not  a  citizen,  if  the  gentleman  would  tell 
cue.  If  he  would  lay  down  his  definition,  I  wanted  to  see  whether 
the  negro  did  not  comply  with  it  and  conform  to  it,  so  as  to  be  a 
citizen ;  but  he  insists  that  he  is  not  a  citizen." 

"  I  will  answer  that  question,  if  the  honorable  Senator  will  per- 
mit me,"  said  Mr.  Davis.  "  Government  is  a  political  partner- 
ship. No  persons  but  the  partners  who  formed  the  partnership 
are  parties  to  the  government.  Here  is  a  government  formed 
by  the  white  man  alone.  The  negro  was  excluded  from  the 
formation  of  our  political  partnership ;  he  had  nothing  to  do  with 
it;  he  had  nothing  to  do  in  its  formation." 

"Is  it  a  close  corporation,  so  that  new  partners  can  not  be 
added?"  asked  Mr.  Stewart,  of  Nevada. 

"  Yes,  sir,"  said  Mr.  Davis ;  "  it  is  a  close  white  corporation. 
You  may  bring  all  of  Europe,  but  none  of  Asia  and  none  of 
Africa  into  our  partnership." 

"Let  us  see,"  said  Mr.  Clark,  "how  that  may  be.  Take  the 
gentleman's  own  ground  that  government  is  a  partnership,  and 
those  who  did  not  enter  into  it  and  take  an  active  part  in  it  can 
not  be  citizens.     Is  a  woman  a  citizen  under  our  Constitution?" 

"  Not  to  vote,"  said  Mr.  Davis. 

"  I  did  not  ask  about  voting,"  said  Mr.  Clark.  "  The  gentle- 
man said  awhile  ago  that  voting  did  not  constitute  citizenship. 
I  want  to  know  if  she  is  a  citizen.  Can  she  not  sue  and  be  sued, 
contract,  and  exercise  the  rights  of  a  citizen  ?  " 

"  So  can  a  free  negro,"  said  Mr.  Davis. 

"  Then,  if  a  free  negro  can  do  all  that,"  said  Mr.  Clark ;  "  why 
is  he  not  a  citizen?" 

"Because  he  is  no  part  of  the  governing  power;  that  is  the 
reason,"  Mr.  Davis  replied. 

"  I  deny  that,"  said  Mr.  Clark,  "  because  in  some  of  the  States 
he  is  a  part  of  the  governing  power.  The  Senator  only  begs  the 
question;  it  only  comes  back  to  this,  that  a  nigger  is  a  "nigger." 
[Laughter.] 

"  That  is  the  whole  of  it,"  said  Mr.  Davis. 


^L 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  203 

"  That  is  the  whole  of  the  gentleman's  logic,"  said  Mr.  Clark. 

In  answer  to  the  statement  insisted  on  by  Mr.  Davis,  "  You 
can  not  make  a  citizen  of  any  body  that  is  not  a  foreigner,"  Mr. 
Johnson  said : 

"  That  would  be  an  extraordinary  condition  for  the  country  to 
be  in.  Here  are  four  million  negroes.  They  are  not  foreigners, 
because  they  were  born  in  the  United  States.  They  have  no 
foreign  allegiance  to  renounce,  because  they  owed  no  foreign  alle- 
giance. Their  allegiance,  whatever  it  was,  was  an  allegiance  to 
the  Government  of  the  United  States  alone.  They  can  not  come, 
therefore,  under  the  naturalizing  clause;  they  can  not  come,  of 
course,  under  the  statutes  passed  in  pursuance  of  the  power  con- 
ferred upon  Congress  by  that  clause ;  but  does  it  follow  from  that 
that  you  can  not  make  them  citizens ;  that  the  Congress  of  the 
United  States,  vested  with  the  whole  legislative  power  belonging 
to  the  Government,  having  within  the  limits  of  the  United  States 
four  million  people  anxious  to  become  citizens,  and  when  you  are 
anxious  to  make  them  citizens,  have  no  power  to  make  them  citi- 
zens?    It  seems  to  me  that  to  state  the  question  is  to  answer  it, 

"  The  honorable  member  reads  the  Constitution  as  if  it  said 
that  none  but  white  men  should  become  citizens  of  the  United 
States;  but  it  says  no  such  thing,  and  never  intended,  in  my 
judgment,  to  say  any  such  thing.  If  it  had  designed  to  exclude 
from  all  participation  in  the  rights  of  citizenship  certain  men  on 
account  of  color,  and  to  have  confined,  at  all  times  thereafter, 
citizenship  to  the  white  race,  it  is  but  fair  to  presume,  looking 
to  the  character  of  the  men  who  framed  the  Constitution,  that 
they  would  have  put  that  object  beyond  all  possible  doubt;  they 
would  have  said  that  no  man  should  be  a  citizen  of  the  United 
States  except  a  white  man,  or  rather  would  have  negatived  the 
right  of  the  negro  to  become  a  citizen  by  saying  that  Congress 
might  pass  uniform  rules  upon  the  subject  of  the  naturalization 
of  white  immigrants  and  nobody  else ;  but  that  they  did  not  do. 
They  left  it  to  Congress.  Congress,  in  the  exercise  of  their  dis- 
cretion, have  thought  proper  to  insert  the  term  ' white'  in  the 
naturalization  act;  but  they  may  strike  it  out,  and  if  it  should 
be  stricken  out,  I  do  not  think  any  lawyer,  except  my  friend 
from  Kentucky,  would  deny  that  a  black  man  could  be  natural- 
ized, and  by  naturalization  become  a  citizen  of  the  United  States. 

"  But  to  go  back  to  the  point  from  which  the  questions  of  my 


2 04  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

honorable  friend  from  Kentucky  caused  me  to  digress,  we  have 
now  within  the  United  States  four  million  colored  -people,  the 
descendants  of  Africans,  whose  ancestors  were  brought  into  the 
United  States  as  chattels.  It  was  because  of  that  condition  that 
they  were  considered  as  not  entitled  to  the  rights  of  citizenship. 
"We  have  put  an  end  to  that  condition.  "We  have  said  that  at  all 
times  hereafter  men  of  any  color  that  nature  may  think  proper  to 
impress  upon  the  human  frame,  shall,  if  within  the  United  States, 
be  free,  and  not  property.  Then,  we  have  four  million  colored 
people  who  are  now  as  free  as  we  are;  and  the  only  question  is, 
whether,  being  free,  they  can  not  be  clothed  with  the  rights  of 
citizenship.  The  honorable  member  from  Kentucky  says  no,  be- 
cause the  naturalization  clause  does  not  include  them.  I  have 
attempted  to  answer  that.  He  says  no,  because  the  act  passed  in 
pursuance  of  that  clause  does  not  include  them.  I  have  answered 
that  by  saying  that  that  act  in  that  particular  may  be  changed." 
On  the  following  day,  February  1st,  the  discussion  of  the  bill 
was  resumed  by  Mr.  Morrill,  of  Maine.  He  said  of  the  bill : 
"  It  marks  an  epoch  in  the  history  of  this  country,  and  from  this 
time  forward  the  legislation  takes  a  fresh  and  a  new  departure. 
Sir,  to-day  is  the  only  hour  since  this  Government  began  when  it 
was  possible  to  have  enacted  it.  Such  has  been  the  situation  of 
politics  in  this  country,  nay,  sir,  such  have  been  the  provisions 
of  the  fundamental  law  of  this  country,  that  such  legislation 
hitherto  has  never  been  possible.  There  has  been  no  time  since 
the  foundation  of  the  Government  when  an  American  Congress 
could  by  possibility  have  enacted  such  a  law,  or  with  propriety 
have  made  such  a  declaration.  What  is  this  declaration?  All 
persons  born  in  this  country  are  citizens.  That  never  was  so  be- 
fore. Although  I  have  said  that  by  the  fundamental  principles 
of  American  law  all  persons  were  entitled  to  be  citizens  by  birth, 
we  all  know  that  there  was  an  exceptional  condition  in  the  Gov- 
ernment of  the  country  which  provided  for  an  exception  to  this 
general  rule.  Here  were  four  million  slaves  in  this  country  that 
were  not  citizens,  not  citizens  by  the  general  policy  of  the  coun- 
try, not  citizens  on  account  of  their  condition  of  servitude ;  up  to 
this  hour  they  could  not  have  been  treated  by  us  as  citizens;  so 
long  as  that  provision  in  the  Constitution  which  recognized  this 
exceptional  condition  remained  the  fundamental  law  of  the  coun- 
try, such  a  declaration  as  this  would  not  have  been  legal,  could 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  205 

not  have  been  enacted  by  Congress.  I  hail  it,  therefore,  as  a 
declaration  which  typifies  a  grand  fundamental  change  in  the 
politics  of  the  country,  and  which  change  justifies  the  declaration 
now. 

"  The  honorable  Senator  from  Kentucky  has  vexed  himself 
somewhat,  I  think,  with  the  problem  of  the  naturalization  of 
American  citizens.  As  he  reads  it,  only  foreigners  can  be  natu- 
ralized, or,  in  other  words,  can  become  citizens;  and  upon  his 
assumption,  four  million  men  and  women  in  this  country  are  out- 
side not  only  of  naturalization,  not  only  of  citizenship,  but  outside 
of  the  possibility  of  citizenship.  Sir,  he  has  forgotten  the  grand 
principle  both  of  nature  and  nations,  both  of  law  and  politics, 
that  birth  gives  citizenship  of  itself.  This  is  the  fundamental 
principle  running  through  all  modern  politics  both  in  this  coun- 
try and  in  Europe.  Every-where,  where  the  principles  of  law 
have  been  recognized  at  all,  birth  by  its  inherent  energy  and 
force  gives  citizenship.  Therefore  the  founders  of  this  Govern- 
ment made  no  provision — of  course  they  made  none — for  the 
naturalization  of  natural-born  citizens.  The  Constitution  speaks 
of  '  natural-born,'  and  speaks  of  them  as  citizens  in  contradistinc- 
tion from  those  who  are  alien  to  us.  Therefore,  sir,  this  amend- 
ment, although  it  is  a  grand  enunciation,  although  it  is  a  lofty 
and  sublime  declaration,  has  no  force  or  efficiency  as  an  enact- 
ment.    I  hail  it  and  accept  it  simply  as  a  declaration. 

"  The  honorable  Senator  from  Kentucky,  when  he  criticises  the 
methods  of  naturalization,  and  rules  out,  for  want  of  power,  four 
million  people,  forgets  this  general  process  of  nations  and  of 
nature  by  which  every  man,  by  his  birth,  is  entitled  to  citizen- 
ship, and  that  upon  the  general  principle  that  he  owes  allegiance 
to  the  country  of  his  birth,  and  that  country  owes  him  protec- 
tion. That  is  the  foundation,  as  I  understand  it,  of  all  citizen- 
ship, and  these  are  the  essential  elements  of  citizenship :  allegiance 
on  the  one  side,  and  protection  on  the  other." 

In  reply  to  statements  made  by  Mr.  Davis,  Mr.  Morrill  re- 
marked :  "  The  Senator  from  Kentucky  denounces  as  a  usurpation 
this  measure,  and  particularly  this  amendment,  this  declaration. 
He  says  it  is  not  within  the  principles  of  the  Constitution.  That 
it  is  extraordinary  I  admit.  That  the  measure  is  not  ordinary 
is  most  clear.  There  is  no  parallel,  I  have  already  said,  for  it 
in  the  history  of  this  country;  there  is  no  parallel  for  it  in  the 


206  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

history  of  any  country.  No  nation*from  the  foundation  of  gov- 
ernment, has  ever  undertaken  to  make  a  legislative  declaration 
so  broad.  Why?  Because* no  nation  hitherto  has  ever  cherished 
a  liberty  so  universal.  The  ancient  republics  were  all  exceptional 
in  their  liberty;  they  all  had  excepted  classes,  subjected  classes, 
which  were  not  the  subject  of  government,  and,  therefore,  they 
could  not  so  legislate.  That  it  is  extraordinary  and  without  a 
parallel  in  the  history  of  this  Government,  or  of  any  other,  does 
not  affect  the  character  of  the  declaration  itself. 

"The  Senator  from  Kentucky  tells  us  that  the  proposition  is 
revolutionary,  and  he  thinks  that  is  an  objection.  I  freely  con- 
cede that  it  is  revolutionary.  I  admit  that  this  species  of  legis- 
lation is  absolutely  revolutionary.  But  are  we  not  in  the  midst 
of  revolution  ?  Is  the  Senator  from  Kentucky  utterly  oblivious 
to  the  grand  results  of  four  years  of  war  ?  Are  we  not  in  the 
midst  of  a  civil  and  political  revolution  which  has  changed  the 
fundamental  principles  of  our  Government  in  some  respects? 
Sir,  is  it  no  revolution  that  you  have  changed  the  entire  system 
of  servitude  in  this  country  ?  Is  it  no  revolution  that  now  you 
can  no  longer  talk  of  two  systems  of  civilization  in  this  country  ? 
Four  short  years  back,  I  remember  to  have  listened  to  eloquent 
speeches  in  this  chamber,  in  which  we  were  told  that  there  was 
a  grand  antagonism  in  our  institutions ;  that  there  were  two  civ- 
ilizations ;  that  there  was  a  civilization  based  on  servitude,  and 
that  it  was  antagonistic  to  the  free  institutions  of  the  country. 
Where  is  that?  Gone  forever.  That  result  is  a  revolution 
grander  and  sublimer  in  its  consequences  than  the  world  has 
witnessed  hitherto. 

"I  accept,  then,  what  the  Senator  from  Kentucky  thinks  so 
obnoxious.  We  are  in  the  midst  of  revolution.  We  have  revo- 
lutionized this  Constitution  of  ours  to  that  extent;  and  every 
substantial  change  in  the  fundamental  constitution  of  a  country 
is  a  revolution.  Why,  sir,  the  Constitution  even  provides  for 
revolutionizing  itself.  N.ay,  more,  it  contemplates  it;  contem- 
plates that  in  the  changing  phases  of  life,  civil  and  political, 
changes  in  the  fundamental  law  will  become  necessary ;  and  is  it 
needful  for  me  to  advert  to  the  facts  and  events  of  the  last  four 
or  five  years  to  justify  the  declaration  that- revolution  here  is  not 
only  radical  and  thorough,  but  the  result  of  the  events  of  the  last 
four  years?     Of  course,  I  mean  to  contend  in  all  I  say  that  the 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  207 

revolution  of  which  I  speak  should  be  peaceful,  as  on  the  part 
of  the  Government  here  it  has  been  peaceful.  It  grows  out,  to 
be  sure,  of  an  assault  upon  our  institutions  by  those  whose  pur- 
pose it  was  to  overthrow  the  Government ;  but,  on  the  part  of  the 
Government,  it  has  been  peaceful,  it  has  been  within  the  forms 
of  the  Constitution ;  but  it  is  a  revolution  nevertheless. 

"  But  the  honorable  Senator  from  Kentucky  insists  that  it  is  a 
usurpation.  Not  so,  sir.  Although  it  is  a  revolution  radical,  as 
I  contend,  it  was  not  a  usurpation.  It  was  not  a  usurpation, 
becarfse  it  took  place  within  the  provisions  contemplated  in  the 
Constitution.  .More  than  that,  it  was  a  change  precisely  in  har- 
mony with  the  general  principles  of  the  Government.  This  great 
change  which  has  been  wrought  in  our  institutions  was  in  har- 
mony with  the  fundamental  principles  of  the  Government.  The 
change  which  has  been  made  has  destroyed  that  which  was  ex- 
ceptional in  our  institutions ;  and  the  action  of  the  Government 
in  regard  to  it  was  provoked  by  the  enemies  of  the  Government. 
The  opportunity  was  afforded,  and  the  change  which  has  been 
wrought  was  in  harmony  with  the  fundamental  principles  of  the 
Government." 

The  Senator  from  Maine  opposed  the  theory  that  this  is  a 
Government  exclusively  for  white  men.  He  remarked :  "  It  is 
said  that  this  amendment  raises  the  general  question  of  the  an- 
tagonism of  the  races,  which,  we  are  told,  is  a  well-established 
fact.  It  is  said  that  no  rational  man,  no  intelligent  legislator  or 
statesman,  should  ever  act  without  reference  to  that  grand  his- 
torical fact ;  and  the  Senator  from  Pennsylvania,  [Mr.  Cowan,] 
on  a  former  occasion,  asserted  that  this  Government,  that  Amer- 
ican society,  had  been  established  here  upon  the  principle  of  the 
exclusion,  as  he  termed  it,  of  the  inferior  and  the  barbarian  races. 
Mr.  President,  I  deny  that  proposition  as  a  historical  fact.  There 
is  nothing  more  inaccurate.  ISTo  proposition  could  possibly  be 
made  here  or  anywhere  else  more  inaccurate  than  to  say  that 
American  society,  either  civil  or  political,  was  formed  in  the  in- 
terest of  any  race  or  class.  Sir,  the  history  of  the  country  does 
not  bear  out  the  statement  of  the  honorable  Senator  from  Penn- 
sylvania. Was  not  America  said  to  be  the  land  of  refuge  ?  Has 
it  not  been,  since  the  earliest  period,  held  up  as  an  asylum  for 
the  oppressed  of  all  nations  ?  Hither,  allow  me  to  ask,  have  not 
all  the  peoples  of  the  nations  of  the  earth  come  for  an  asylum 


208  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

and  for  refuse  ?  All  the  nations  of  the  earth,  and  all  the  varie- 
ties of  the  races  of  the  nations  of  the  earth,  have  gathered  here. 
In  the  early  settlements  of  the  country,  the  Irish,  the  French, 
the  Swede,  the  Turk,  the  Italian,  the  Moor,  and  so  I  might 
enumerate  all  the  races,  and  all  the  variety  of  races,  came  here ; 
and  it  is  a  fundamental  mistake  to  suppose  that  settlement  was 
begun  here  in  the  interests  of  any  class,  or  condition,  or  race, 
or  interest.  This  Western  Continent  was  looked  to  as  an  asylum 
for  the  oppressed  of  all  nations  and  of  all  races.  Hither  all 
nations  and  all  races  have  come.-  Here,  sir,  upon  the  grand 
plane  of  republican  democratic  liberty,  they  have  undertaken  to 
work  out  the  great  problem  of  man's  capacity  for  self-government 
without  stint  or  limit." 

Mr.  Davis  then  made  another  speech  in  opposition  to  the  bill. 
When  the  hour  for  adjournment  had  arrived,  and  Mr.  Johnson 
interrupted  him  with  a  proposition  that  "  the  bill  be  passed  over 
for  to-day,"  Mr.  Davis  said,  "  I  am  wound  up,  and  am  obliged 
to  run  down."  The  Senate,  however,  adjourned  at  a  late  hour, 
and  resumed  the  hearing  of  Mr.  Davis  on  the  following  day. 

In  alluding;  to  Mr.  Johnson's  strictures  on  his  assertion  that 
Congress  had  no  power  to  confer  the  right  of  citizenship  on  "  the 
native  born  negro,"  Mr.  Davis  said  :  "  The  honorable  Senator, 
[Mr.  Johnson,]  as  I  said  the  other  day,  is  one  of  the  ablest  law- 
yers, and,  I  believe,  the  ablest  living  lawyer  in  the  land.  I  have 
seen  gentlemen  sometimes  so  much  the  lawyer  that  they  had  to 
abate  some  of  the  statesman  [laughter] ;  and  I  am  not  certain,  I 
would  not  say  it  was  so — I  will  not  arrogate  to  myself  to  say 
so — but  sometimes  a  suspicion  flashes  across  my  mind  that  that 
is  precisely  the  predicament  of  my  honorable  friend. 

"  I  maintain  that  a  negro  can  not  be  made  a  citizen  by  Con- 
gress ;  he  can  not  be  made  a  citizen  by  any  naturalization  laws, 
because  the  naturalization  laws  apply  to  foreigners  alone.  No 
man  can  shake  the  legal  truth  of  that  position.  They  apply  to 
foreigners  alone;  and  a  negro,  an  Indian,  or  any  other  person 
born  within  the  United  States,  not  being  a  foreigner,  can  not  be 
naturalized;  therefore  they  can  not  be  made  citizens  by  the  uni- 
form rule  established  by  Congress  under  the  Constitution,  and 
there  is  no  other  rule.  Congress  has  no  power,  as  I  said  before, 
to  naturalize  a  citizen.  They  could  not  be  made  citizens  by 
treaty.     If  they  are  made  so  at  all,  it  is  by  their  birth,  and  the 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  209 

locality  of  their  birth,  and  the  general  operation  and  effect  of  our 
Constitution.  If  they  are  so  made  citizens,  that  question  is  a  ju- 
dicial question,  not  a  legislative  question.  Congress  has  no  power 
to  enlarge  or  extend  any  of  the  provisions  of  the  Constitution 
which  bear  upon  the  birth  or  citizenship  of  negroes  or  Indians 
born  in  the  United  States. 

"  If  there  was  any  despot  in  Europe  or  in  the  world  that 
wanted  a  master  architect  in  framing  and  putting  together  a 
despotic  and  oppressive  law,  I  would,  if  my  slight  voice 'could 
reach  him,  by  all  means  say  to  him,  Seek  the  laboratory  of  the 
Senator  from  Illinois.  If  he  has  not  proved  himself  an  adept 
in  this  kind  of  legislation,  unconstitutional,  unjust,  oppressive, 
iniquitous,  unwise,  impolitic,  calculated  to  keep  forever  a  sever- 
ance of  the  Union,  to  exclude  from  all  their  constitutional  rights, 
privileges,  and  powers  under  the  Government  eleven  States  of 
the  Union — if  he  has  not  devised  such  a  measure  as  that,  I  have 
not  reason  enough  to  comprehend  it. 

Mr.  Davis  closed  his  speech  by  saying:  "Was  it  for  these 
fruits  and  these  laws  that  we  went  into  this  war?  Was  it  for 
these  fruits  and  these  laws  and  these  oppressions  that  two  million 
and  a  quarter  of  men  were  ordered  into  the  field?  Was  it  that 
the  American  people  might  enjoy  these  as  the  fruits  of  the  tri- 
umphant close  of  this  war,  that  hundreds  of  thousands  of  them 
have  been  mutilated  on  the  battle-field  and  by  the  diseases  of  the 
camp,  and  that  a  debt  of  four  or  five  thousand  million  dollars 
has  been  left  upon  the  country?  If  these  are  to  be  the  results 
of  the  war,  better  that  not  a  single  man  had  been  marshaled  in 
the  field  nor  a  single  star  worn  by  one  of  our  officers.  These 
military  gentlemen  think  they  have  a  right  to  command  and 
control  every-where.  They  do  it.  They  think  they  have  a 
right  to  do  it  here,  and  we  are  sheep  in  the  hands  of  our  shear- 
ers.    We  are  dumb." 

Mr.  Trumbull  said :  "  I  will  occupy  a  few  moments  of  the  at- 
tention of  the  Senate,  after  this  long  harangue  of  the  Senator 
from  Kentucky,  which  he  closed  by  declaring  that  we  are  dumb 
in  the  presence  of  military  power.  If  he  has  satisfied  the  Senate 
that  he  is  dumb,  I  presume  he  has  satisfied  the  Senate  of  all  the 
other  positions  he  has  taken ;  and  the  others  are  about  as  absurd 
as  that  declaration.  He  denounces  this  bill  as  '  outrageous/  '  most 
14 


210  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

monstrous/  ' abominable/  'oppressive/  ' iniquitous/  'unconstitu- 
tional/ 'void.' 

"  Now,  what  is  this  bill  that  is  obnoxious  to  such  terrible  epi- 
thets? It  is  a  bill  providing  that  all  people  shall  have  equal 
rights.  Is  not  that  abominable '?  Is  not  that  iniquitous  ?  Is  not 
that  monstrous?  Is  not  that  terrible  on  white  men?  [Laughter.] 
When  was  such  legislation  as  this  ever  thought  of  for  white  men  ? 

"Sir,  this  bill  applies  to  white  men  as  well  as  black  men.  It 
declares  that  all  men  in  the  United  States  shall  be  entitled  to  the 
same  civil  rights,  the  right  to  the  fruit  of  their  own  labor,  the 
right  to  make  contracts',  the  right  to  buy  and  sell,  and  enjoy  lib- 
erty and  happiness;  and  that  is  abominable  and  iniquitous  and 
unconstitutional!  Could  any  thing  be  more  monstrous  or  more 
abominable  than  for  a  member  of  the  Senate  to  rise  in  his  place 
and  denounce  with  such  epithets  as  these  a  bill,  the  only  object 
of  which  is  to  secure  equal  rights  to  all  the  citizens  of  the  coun- 
try— a  bill  that  protects  a  white  man  just  as  much  as  a  black 
man?  With  what  consistency  and  with  what  face  can  a  Senator 
in  his  place  here  say  to  the  Senate  and  the  country,  that  this  is  a 
bill  for  the  benefit  of  the  black  men  exclusively,  when  tliere  is 
no  such  distinction  in  it,  and  when  the  very  object  of  the  bill  is 
to  break  down  all  discrimination  between  black  men  and  white 
men  ?  " 

Mr.  Guthrie,  of  Kentucky,  said :  "  My  doctrine  is  that  slavery 
exists  no  longer  in  this  country ;  that  it  is  impossible  to  exist  in 
the  face  of  that  provision;  and  with  slavery  fell  the  laws  of  all 
the  States  providing  for  slavery,  every  one  of  them.  I  do  not 
see  what  benefit  can  arise  from  repealing  them  by  this  bill,  be- 
cause, if  they  are  not  repealed  by  the  Constitution  as  amended, 
this  bill  could  not  repeal  them.  I  hope  that  all  the  States  in 
which  slavery  formerly  existed  will  accept  that  constitutional  pro- 
vision in  good  faith.  I  myself  accept  it  in  good  faith.  Believing 
that  all  the  laws  authorizing  slavery  have  fallen,  I  have  advised 
the  people  of  Kentucky,  and  I  would  advise  all  the  States,  to  put 
these  Africans  upon  the  same  footing  that  the  whites  arc  in  rela- 
tion to  civil  rights.  They  have  all  the  rights  that  were  formerly 
accorded  to  the  free  colored  population  in  all  the  States  just  as 
fully  this  day  as  they  will  have  after  this  bill  has  passed,  and 
they  will  continue  to  have  them. 

'  Now,  to  the  States  belong  the  government  of  their  own  popu- 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  211 

lation,  and  those  within  their  borders,  upon  all  subjects.  We,  in 
Kentucky,  prescribe  punishment  for  those  who  violate  the  laws; 
we  prescribe  it  for  the  white  population;  we  prescribe  it  for  the 
free  African  population,  and  we  prescribe  it  for  the  slave  popula- 
tion. All  the  laws  prescribing  punishment  for  slaves  fell  with 
slavery,  and  they  were  subject  afterward  only  to  the  penalties 
which  were  inflicted  upon  the  free  colored  population,  they  then 
being  free.  Slaves,  for  many  offenses,  were  punished  far  less  than 
the  free  colored  people.  No  slave  was  sent  to  the  penitentiary 
and  punished  for  stealing,  or  any  thing  of  that  kind,  whereas  a 
free  person  was.  But  all  these  States  will  now,  of  course,  remodel 
their  laws  upon  the  subject  of  offenses.  I  would  advise  that  there 
should  be  but  one  code  for  all  persons,  black  as  well  as  white; 
that  there  shall  be  one  general  rule  for  the  punishment  of  crime 
in-  the  different  States.  But,  sir,  the  States  must  have  time  to  act 
on  the  subject ;  and  yet  we  are  here  preparing  laws  and  penalties, 
and  proposing  to  carry  them  into  execution  by  military  authority, 
before  the  States  have  had  time  to  legislate,  and  even  before  some 
of  their  Legislatures  have  had  time  to  convene. 

"Kentucky  has  had  her  share  of  talking  here,  and,  sir,  she 
has  had  her  share  of  suffering  during  the  war.  At  one  time  she 
was  invaded  by  three  armies  of  the  rebellion;  all  but  seven  or 
eight  counties  of  the  State,  at  one  time,  were  occupied  by  its  ar- 
mies, and  her  whole  territory  devastated  by  guerrillas.  We  have 
suffered  in  this  war.  We  have  borne  it  as  best  we  could.  We 
feel  it  intensely  that  now,  at  the  end  of  the  war,  we  should  be 
subjected  to  a  military  desj)otism,  our  houses  liable  to  be  entered 
at  any  time  when  our  families  are  at  rest,  by  military  men  who 
can  arrest  and  send  to  prison  without  warrant,  and  we  are  obliged 
to  go,  and  we  are  obliged  to  pay  any  fines  they  may  impose.  I 
do  not  believe  that  you  will  lose  any  thing  if  you  pause  before 
passing  such  legislation  as  this,  and  establishing  these  military 
despotisms,  for  we  do  not  know  where  they  are  to  end." 

Mr.  Hendricks,  of  Indiana,  had  proposed  to  strike  out  the  last 
clause  of  the  bill,  which  provided  that  "such  part  of  the  land 
and  naval  forces  of  the  United  States,  or  of  the  militia,"  as  should 
be  necessary,  might  be  employed  to  prevent  the  violation,  and  en- 
force the  due  execution  of  this  act.  The  Senator  from  Indiana 
opposed  the  bill  on  the  ground  that  it  employed  the  machinery 


Z12  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

of  the  Fugitive  Slave  Law,  and  that  it  was  to  be  enforced  by  the 
military  authority  of  the  United  States.     He  said : 

"  This  bill  is  a  wasp ;  its  sting  is  in  its  tail.  Sir,  what  is  this 
bill?  It  provides,  in  the  first  place,  that  the  civil  rights  of  all 
men,  without  regard  to  color,  shall  be  equal;  and,  in  the  second 
place,  that  if  any  man  shall  violate  that  principle  by  his  conduct, 
he  shall  be  responsible  to  the  court;  that  he  may  be  prosecuted 
criminally  and  punished  for  the  crime,  or  he  may  be  sued  in  a 
civil  action  and  damages  recovered  by  the  party  wronged.  Is  not 
that  broad  enough?  Do  Senators  want  to  go  further  than  this? 
To  recognize  the  civil  rights  of  the  colored  people  as  equal  to  the 
civil  rights  of  the  white  people,  I  understand  to  be  as  far  as  Sen- 
ators desire  to  go ;  in  the  language  of  the  Senator  from  Massa- 
chusetts [Mr.  Sumner],  to  place  all  men  upon  an  equality  before 
the  law;  and  that  is  proposed  in  regard  to  their  civil  rights." 

In  reference  to  the  reenactment  of  the  odious  features  of  the 
Fugitive  Slave  Law  in  this  bill,  Mr.  Hendricks  said :  "  I  recol- 
lect how  the  blood  of  the  people  was  made  to  run  cold  within 
them  when  it  was  said  that  the  white  man  was  required  to  run 
after  the  fugitive  slave;  that  the  law  of  1850  made  you  and  me, 
my  brother  Senators,  slave-catchers;  that  the  posse  comitatus 
could  be  called  to  execute  a  writ  of  the  law,  for  the  recovery  of 
a  runaway  slave,  under  the  provisions  of  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States;  and  the  whole  country  was  agitated  because  of  it. 
Now  slavery  is  gone;  the  negro  is  to  be  established  upon  a  plat- 
form of  civil  equality  with  the  white  man.  That  is  the  proposi- 
tion. But  Ave  do  not  stop  there;  we  are  to  reenact  a  law  that 
nearly  all  of  you  said  was  wicked  and  wrong;  and  for  what  pur- 
pose? Not  to  pursue  the  negro  any  longer;  not  for  the  purpose 
of  catching  him ;  not  for  the  purpose  of  catching  the  great  crimi- 
nals of  the  land ;  but  for  the  purpose  of  placing  it  in  the  power 
of  any  deputy  marshal  in  any  county  of  the  country  to  call  upon 
you  and  me,  and  all  the  body  of  the  people,  to  pursue  some  white 
man  who  is  running  for  his  liberty,  because  some  negro  has 
charged  him  with  denying  to  him  equal  civil  rights  with  the 
white  man.  I  thought,  sir,  that  that  frame-work  was  enough ;  I 
thought,  when  you  placed  under  the  command  of  the  marshal,  in 
every  county  of  the  land,  all  the  body  of  the  people,  and  put 
every  one  upon  the  track  of  the  fleeing  white  man,  that  that  was 
enough ;  but  it  -is  not.     For  the  purpose  of  the  enforcement  of 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  213 

this  law,  the  President  is  authorized  to  appoint  somebody  who  is 
to  have  the  command  of  the  military  and  naval  forces  of  the 
United  States — for  what  purpose  ?  To  prevent  a  violation  of  this 
law,  and  to  execute  it. 

"  You  clothe  the  marshals  under  this  bill  with  all  the  powers 
that  were  given  to  the  marshals  under  the  Fugitive  Slave  Law. 
That  was  regarded  as  too  arbitrary  in  its  provisions,  and  you  re- 
pealed it.  You  said  it  should  not  stand  upon  the  statute-book 
any  longer;  that  no  man,  white  or  black,  should  be  pursued 
under  the  provisions  of  that  law.  Now,  you  reenact  it,  and  you 
claim  it  as  a  merit  and  an  ornament  to  the  legislation  of  the 
country;  and  you  add  an  army  of  officers  and  clothe  them  with 
the  power  to  call  upon  any  body  and  every  body  to  pursue  the 
running  white  man.  That  is  not  enough,  but  you  must  have  the 
military  to  be  called  in,  at  the  pleasure  of  whom?  Such  a  person 
as  the  President  may  authorize  to  call  out  the  military  forces. 
Where  it  shall  be,  and  to  whom  this  power  shall  be  given,  we 
do  not  know." 

Mr.  Lane,  of  Indiana,  replied  to  the  argument  of  his  colleague. 
He  said :  "  It  is  true  that  many  of  the  provisions  of  this  bill, 
changed  in  their  purpose  and  object,  are  almost  identical  with  the 
provisions  of  the  Fugitive  Slave  Law,  and  they  are  denounced  by 
my  colleague  in  their  present  application;  but  I  have  not  heard 
any  denunciation  from  my  colleague,  or  from  any  of  those  associated 
with  him,  of  the  provisions  of  that  Fugitive  Slave  Law  which  was 
enacted  in  the  interest  of  slavery,  and  for  purposes  of  oppression, 
and  which  was  an  unworthy,  cowardly,  disgraceful  concession  to 
Southern  opinion  by  Northern  politicians.  I  have  suffered  no 
suitable  opportunity  to  escape  me  to  denounce  the  monstrous  char- 
acter of  that  Fugitive  Slave  Act  of  1850.  All  these  provisions 
wrere  odious  and  disgraceful  in  my  opinion,  when  applied  in  the 
interest  of  slavery,  when  the  object  was  to  strike  down  the  rights 
of  man.  But  here  the  purpose  is  changed.  These  provisions  are 
in  the  interest  of  freemen  and  of  freedom,  and  what  was  odious  in 
the  one  case  becomes  highly  meritorious  in  the  other.  It  is  an 
instance  of  poetic  justice  and  of  apt  retribution  that  God  has  caused 
the  wrath  of  man  to  praise  Him.  I  stand  by  every  provision  of 
this  bill,  drawn  as  it  is  from  that  most  iniquitious  fountain,  the 
Fugitive  Slave  Law  of  1850. 

"  Then  my  colleague  asks,  Why  do  you  invoke  the  power  of  the 


214  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

military  to  enforce  these  laws?  And  he  says  that  constables,  and 
sheriffs,  and  marshals,  when  they  have  process  to  serve,  have  a 
right  to  call  upon  the  posse  comitatus,  the  body  of  the  whole 
people,  to  enforce  their  writs.  Here  is  a  justice  of  the  peace  in 
South  Carolina  or  Georgia,  or  a  county  court,  or  a  circuit  court, 
that  is  called  upon  to  execute  this  law.  They  appoint  their  own 
marshal,  their  deputy  marshal,  or  their  constable,  and  he  calls 
upon  the  posse  comitatus.  Neither  the  judge,  nor  the  jury,  nor 
the  officer,  as  we  believe,  is  willing  to  execute  the  law.  He  may 
call  upon  the  people,  the  body  of  the  whole  people,  a  body  of 
rebels  steeped  in  treason  and  rebellion  to  their  lips,  and  they  are 
to  execute  it;  and  the  gentleman  seems  wonderfully  astonished 
that  we  should  call  upon  the  military  power.  We  should  not 
legislate  at  all  if  we  believed  the  State  courts  could  or  would 
honestly  carry  out  the  provisions  of  the  constitutional  amendment ; 
but  because  we  believe  they  will  not  do  that,  we  give  the  Federal 
officers  jurisdiction. 

"  But  what  harm  is  to  result  from  it  ?  Who  is  to  be  oppressed  ? 
What  white  man  fleeing,  in  the  language  of  my  colleague,  pur- 
sued by  these  harpies  of  the  law,  is  in  danger  of  having  his  rights 
stricken  down?  What  does  the  bill  provide?  It  places  all  men 
upon  an  equality,  and  unless  the  white  man  violates  the  law,  he 
is  in  no  danger.  It  takes  no  rights  from  any  white  man.  It 
simply  places  others  on  the  same  platform  upon  which  he  stands ; 
and  if  he  would  invoke  the  power  of  local  prejudice  to  override 
the  laws  of  the  country,  this  is  no  Government  unless  the  military 
may  be  called  in  to  enforce  the  order  of  the  civil  courts  and  obe- 
dience to  the  laws  of  the  country." 

Mr.  Wilson,  of  Massachusetts,  said,  in  answer  to  some  objec- 
tions to  the  bill  urged  by  Mr.  Guthrie :  "  The  Senator  tells  us 
that  the  emancipated  men  ought  to  have  their  civil  rights,  that 
the  black  codes  fell  with  slavery;  but  the  Senator  forgets  that  at 
least  six  of  the  reorganized  States  in  their  new  Legislatures  have 
passed  laws  wholly  incompatible  with  the  freedom  of  these  freed- 
men ;  and  so  atrocious  are  the  provisions  of  these  laws,  and  so 
persistently  are  they  carried  into  effect  by  the  local  authorities, 
that  General  Thomas,  in  Mississippi,  General  Swayne,  in  Ala- 
bama, General  Sickles,  in  South  Carolina,  and  General  Terry,  in 
Virginia,  have  issued  positive  orders,  forbidding  the  execution  of 
the  black  laws  that  have  just  been  passed. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  215 

"  So  unjust,  so  wicked,  so  incompatible  are  these  new  black 
laws  of  the  rebel  States,  made  in  defiance  of  the  expressed  will  of 
the  nation,  that  Lieutenant-general  Grant  has  been  forced  to  is- 
sue that  order,  which  sets  aside  the  black  laws  of  all  these  rebell- 
ious States  against  the  freedmen,  and  allows  no  law  to  be  en- 
forced against  them  that  is  not  enforced  equally  against  white  men. 
This  order,  issued  by  General  Grant,  will  be  respected,  obeyed, 
and  enforced  in  the  rebel  States  with  the  military  power  of  the 
nation.  Southern  legislators  and  people  must  learn,  if  they  are 
compelled  to  learn  by  the  bayonets  of  the  Army  of  the  United 
States,  that  the  civil  rights  of  the  freedmen  must  be  and  shall  be 
respected;  that  these  freedmen  are  as  free  as  their  late  masters; 
that  they  shall  live  under  the  same  laws,  be  tried  for  their  viola- 
tion in  the  same  manner,  and  if  found  guilty,  punished  in  the 
same  manner  and  degree. 

"This  measure  is  called  for,  because  these  reconstructed  Legis- 
latures, in  defiance  of  the  rights  of  the  freedmen,  and  the  will  of 
the  nation,  embodied  in  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution,  have 
enacted  laws  nearly  as  iniquitous  as  the  old  slave  codes  that  dark- 
ened the  legislation  of  other  days.  The  needs  of  more  than  four 
million  colored  men  imperatively  call  for  its  enactment.  The 
Constitution  authorizes  and  the  national  will  demands  it.  By  a 
series  of  legislative  acts,  by  executive  proclamations,  by  military 
orders,  and  by  the  adoption  of  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution 
by  the  people  of  the  United  States,  the  gigantic*  system  of  human 
slavery  that  darkened  the  land,  controlled  the  policy,  and  swayed 
the  destinies  of  the  republic  has  forever  perished.  Step  by  step 
we  have  marched  right  on  from  one  victory  to  another,  with  the 
music  of  broken  fetters  ringing  in  our  ears.  None  of  the  series 
of  acts  in  this  beneficent  legislation  of  Congress,  none  of  the 
proclamations  of  the  Executive,  none  of  these  military  orders, 
protecting  rights  secured  by  law,  will  ever  be  revoked  or  amended 
by  the  voice  of  the  American  people.     There  is  now 

"  'No  slave  beneath  that  starry  flag, 
The  emblem  of  the  free.' 

"  By  the  will  of  the  nation  freedom  and  free  institutions  for  all, 
chains  and  fetters  for  none,  are  forever  incorporated  in  the  fun- 
damental law  of  regenerated  and  united  America.  Slave  codes 
and  auction  blocks,  chains  and  fetters  and  blood-hounds,  are  things 


216  THE  THIBTT-JVIJVTH  CONGRESS. 

of  the  past,  and  the  chattel  stands  forth  a  man,  with  the  rights 
and  the  powers  of  the  freemen.  For  the  better  security  of  these 
new-born  civil  rights  we  are  now  about  to  pass  the  greatest  and 
the  grandest  act  in  this  series  of  acts  that  have  emancipated  a 
race  and  disinthralled  a  nation.  It  will  pass,  it  will  go  upon  the 
statute-book  of  the  republic  by  the  voice  of  the  American  people, 
and  there  it  will  remain.  From  the  verdict  of  Congress  in  favor 
of  this  great  measure,  no  appeal  will  ever  be  entertained  by  the 
people  of  the  United  States." 

Mr.  Cowan  spoke  again,  and  denounced  the  section  of  the  bill 
which  provided  for  its  enforcement  by  the  military.  He  said: 
"  There  it  is ;  words  can  not  make  it  plainer ;  reason  can  not  eluci- 
date it;  no  language  can  strengthen  it  or  weaken  it,  one  way  or 
the  other.  There  is  the  question  whether  a  military  man,  edu- 
cated in  a  military  school,  accustomed  to  supreme  command,  un- 
accustomed to  the  administration  of  civil  law  among  a  free  people, 
is  to  be  intrusted  with  these  appellate  jurisdiction  over  the  courts 
of  the  country ;  whether  he  can  in  any  way,  whether  he  ought  in 
any  way,  to  be  intrusted  with  such  a  power.  I,  for  my  part,  will 
never  agree  to  it ;  and  I  should  feel  myself  recreant  to  every  duty 
that  I  owed  to  myself,  to  my  country,  to  my  country's  history, 
and  I  may  say  to  the  race  which  has  been  for  hundreds  and 
thousands  of  years  endeavoring  to  attain  to  something  like  con- 
stitutional liberty,  if  I  did  not  resist  this  and  all  similar 
projects." 

Mr.  Trumbull  answered  some  objections  to  the  bill.  "  The 
Senator  from  Indiana  [Mr.  Hendricks]  objects  to  the  bill  because 
he  says  that  the  same  provisions  which  were  enacted  in  the  old 
Fugitive  Slave  Law  are  incorporated  into  this,  and  that  it  has 
been  heralded  to  the  country  that  it  was  a  great  achievement  to 
do  this;  and  he  insists  that  if  those  provisions  of  law  were 
odious  and  wricked  and  wrong  which  provided  for  punishing 
men  for  aiding  the  slave  to  escape,  therefore  they  must  be  wicked 
and  wrong  now  when  they  are  employed  for  the  punishing  a 
man  who  undertakes  to  put  a  person  into  slavery.  Sir,  that 
does  not  follow  at  all.  A  law  may  be  iniquitous  and  unjust  and 
wrong  which  undertakes  to  punish  another  for  doing  an  innocent 
act,  which  would  be  righteous  and  just  and  proper  to  punish  a 
man  for  doing  a  wicked  act.  We  have  upon  our  statute-books  a 
law  punishing  a  man  who  commits  murder,  because  the  commis- 


CIVIL-  BIGHTS  BILL.  217 

sion  of  murder  is  a  high  crime,  and  the  party  who  does  it  for- 
feits his  right  to  live;  but  would  it  be  just  to  apply  the  law 
which  punishes  a  person  for  committing  murder  to  an  innocent 
person  who  had  killed  another  accidentally,  without  malice?  That 
is  the  difference.  It  is  the  difference  between  right  and  wrong, 
between  good  and  evil.  True,  the  features  of  the  Fugitive  Slave 
Law  were  abominable  when  they  were  used  for  the  purpose  of 
punishing,  not  negroes,  as  the  Senator  from  Indiana  says,  but 
white  men.  The  Fugitive  Slave  Law  was  enacted  for  the  pur- 
pose of  punishing  white  men  who  aided  to  give  the  natural  gift 
of  liberty  to  those  who  were  enslaved.  Now,  sir,  we  propose  to 
use  the  provisions  of  the  Fugitive  Slave  Law  for  the  purpose  of 
punishing  those  who  deny  freedom,  not  those  who  seek  to  aid 
persons  to  escape  to  freedom.  The  difference  was  too  clearly 
pointed  out  by  the  colleague  of  the  Senator  [Mr.  Lane]  to  justify 
me  in  taking  further  time  in  alluding  to  it. 

"  But  the  Senator  objects  to  this  bill  because  it  authorizes  the 
calling  in  of  the  military ;  and  he  asserts  that  it  is  the  only  law 
in  which  the  military  is  brought  in  to  enforce  it.  The  Senator 
from  Pennsylvania  [Mr.  Cowan]  follows  this  up  with  a  half 
hour's  speech,  denouncing  this  law  as  obnoxious  to  the  objection 
that  it  is  a  military  law,  that  it  is  taking  the  trial  of  persons  for 
offenses  out  of  the  hands  of  the  courts  and  placing  them  under 
the  military — a  monstrous  proposition,  he  says.  Is  that  so? 
What  is  the  law  ? 

"  It  is  a  court  bill ;  it  is  to  be  executed  through  the  courts, 
and  in  no  other  way.  But  does  the  Senator  mean  to  say  it  is  a 
military  bill  because  the  military  may  be  called  in,  in  aid  of  the 
execution  of  the  law  through  the  courts  ?  Does  the  Senator  from 
Pennsylvania — I  should  like  his  attention,  and  that  of  the  Sena- 
tor from  Indiana,  too — deny  the  authority  to  call  in  the  military 
in  aid  of  the  execution  of  the  law  through  the  courts  ? 

"  Let  me  read  a  clause  from  the  Constitution,  which  seems  to 
have  been  forgotten  by  the  Senator  from  Pennsylvania  and  the 
Senator  from  Indiana.  The  Senator  from  Pennsylvania,  who  has 
denounced  this- law,  has  been  living  under  just  such  a  law  for 
thirty  years,  and  it  seems  never  found  it  out.  What  says  the 
Constitution  ?  '  Congress  shall  have  power  to  provide  for  calling 
forth  the  militia  to  execute  the  laws  of  the  Union.' 

"  Then,  can  not  the  militia  prevent  persons  from  violating  the 


218  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

law?  They  are  authorized  by  the  Constitution  to  be  called  out 
for  the  purpose  of  executing  the  law,  and  here  we  have  a  law 
that  is  to  be  carried  into  execution,  and  when  you  find  persons 
combined  together  to  prevent  its  execution,  you  can  not  do  any 
thing  with  them!  Suppose  that  the  county  authorities  in  Mus- 
cogee County,  Georgia,  combine  together  to  deny  civil  rights  to 
to  every  colored  man  in  that  county.  For  the  purpose  of  pre- 
venting it,  before  they  have  done  any  act,  I  say  the  militia  may 
be  called  out  to  prevent  them  from  committing  an  act.  We  are 
not  required  to  wait  until  the  act  is  committed  before  any  thing 
can  be  done.  That  was  the  doctrine  which  led  to  this  rebellion, 
that  we  had  no  authority  to  do  any  thing  till  the  conflict  of  arms 
came.  I  believed  then,  in  1860,  that  we  had  authority ;  and  if 
it  had  been  properly  exercised,  if  the  men  who  were  threatening 
rebellion,  who  were  in  this  chamber  defying  the  authority  of  the 
Government,  had  been  arrested  for  treason — of  which,  in  my 
judgment,  by  setting  on  foot  armed  expeditions  against  the  coun- 
try, they  were  guilty — and  if  they  had  been  tried  and  punished 
and  executed  for  the  crime,  I  doubt  whether  this  great  rebellion 
would  ever  have  taken  place. 

"There  is  another  statute  to  which  I  beg  leave  to  call  the 
attention  of  the  Senator  from  Pennsylvania,  and  under  which 
he  has  lived  for  thirty  years  without  ever  having  known  it ; 
and  his  rights  have  been  fully  protected.  I  wish  to  call  atten- 
tion to  a  section  from  which  the  tenth  section  of  the  bill  under 
consideration,  at  which  the  Senator  from  Indiana  is  so  horrified, 
is  copied  word  for  word,  and  letter  for  letter.  The  act  of  March 
10,  1836,  '  supplementary  to  an  act  entitled  "  An  act  in  addition 
to  the  act  for  the  punishment  of  certain  crimes  against  the 
United  States,  and  to  repeal  the  acts  therein  mentioned,"  ap- 
proved 20th  of  April,  1818/  contains  the  very  section  that  is  in 
this  bill,  word  for  word.  It  did  not  horrify  the  country ;  it  did 
not  destroy  all  the  liberties  of  the  people ;  it  did  not  consolidate 
all  the  powers  of  the  Constitution  in  the  Federal  Government  ; 
it  did  not  overthrow  the  courts,  and  it  has  existed  now  for 
thirty  years!" 

The  question  was  first  taken  on  the  amendment  offered  by  Mr. 
Hendricks,  to  strike  out  the  tenth  section  of  the  bill.  The  vote 
resulted  yeas,  twelve ;    nays,  thirty-four. 

At  this  stage   of  the   proceedings,  Mr.  Saulsbury  moved  to 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  219 

amend  the  bill  by  adding  in  the  first  section  of  the  bill  after  the 
words  "civil  rights,"  the  words,  "except  the  right  to  vote  in 
the  States."  He  desired  that  if  the  Senate  did  not  wish  to  con- 
fer the  right  of  suffrage  by  this  bill,  they  should  say  so.  The 
question  being  taken  on  Mr.  Saulsbury's  amendment,  the  vote 
resulted  seven  in  the  affirmative  and  thirty-nine  in  the  negative. 
The  vote  was  finally  taken  on  the  passage  of  the  bill,  which 
resulted  thirty-three  in  the  affirmative  and  twelve  in  the  nega- 
tive.    The  following  Senators  voted  in  favor  of  the  bill : 

Messrs.  A*nthony,  Brown,  Chandler,  Clark,  Connor,  Cragin,  Dixon,  Fes- 
senden,  Foot,  Foster,  Harris,  Henderson,  Howard,  Howe,  Kirkwood,  Henry 
S.  Lane,  James  H.  Lane,  Morgan,  Morrill,  Nye,  Poland,  Pomeroy,  Ramsey, 
Sherman,  Sprague,  Stewart,  Sumner,  Trumbull,  Wade,  Willey,  Williams, 
Wilson,  and  Yates — 33. 

The  following  voted  against  the  bill,  namely : 

Messrs.  Buckalew,  Cowan,  Davis,  Guthrie,  Hendricks,  MeDougall,  Nes- 
mith,  Norton,  Riddle,  Saulsbury,  Stockton,  and  Van  Winkle— 12. 

Five  Senators  were  absent,  to  wit : 

Messrs.  Creswell,  Doolittle,  Grimes,  Johnson,  and  Wright — 5. 


220  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER    X. 

THE  CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL  IN  THE  HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES. 

The  Bill  referred  to  the  Judiciary  Committee  and  reported  back — 
Speech  by  the  Chairman  of  the  Committee — Mr.  Rogers — Mr.  Cook — 
Mr.  Thayer— Mr.  Eldridge — Mr.  Thornton — Mr.  Windom — Mr.  Shel- 
labarger— Mr.  Broomall — Mr.  Raymond — Mr.  Delano — Mr.  Kerr — 
Amendment  by  Mr.  Bingham — His  Speech — Reply  by  his  .Colleague — 
Discussion  closed  by  Mr.  Wilson — Yeas  and  Nays  on  the  Passage  of 
the  Bill — Mr.  Le  Blond's  proposed  title — Amendments  of  the  House 
accepted  by  the  Senate. 
• 

ON  the  5th  of  February,  four  days  after  the  passage  of  the  Civil 
Rights  Bill  in  the  Senate,  it  came  before  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives, and  having  been  read  a  first  and  second  time,  was 
referred  to  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary.  On  the  1st  of  March, 
the  Chairman  of  the  Judiciary  Committee,  Mr.  "Wilson,  brought 
the  bill  again  before  the  House,  proposing  some  verbal  amend- 
ments which  were  adopted.  He  then  made  a  motion  to  recommit 
the  bill,  pending  which,  he  made  a  speech  on  the  merits  of  the 
measure.  He  referred  to  many  definitions,  judicial  decisions, 
opinions,  and  precedents,  under  which  negroes  were  entitled  to 
the  rights  of  American  citizenship.  In  reference  to  the  results 
of  his  researches,  he  said : 

"Precedents,  both  judicial  and  legislative,  are  found  in  sharp 
conflict  concerning  them.  The  line  which  divides  these  prece- 
dents is  generally  found  to  be  the  same  which  sej>arates  the  early 
from  the  later  days  of  the  republic.  The  further  the  Govern- 
ment drifted  from  the  old  moorings  of  equality  and  human  rights, 
the  more  numerous  became  judicial  and  legislative  utterances  in 
conflict  with  some  of  the  leading  features  of  this  bill." 

He  argued  that  the  section  of  the  bill  providing  for  its  enforce- 
ment by  the  military  arm  Avas  necessary,  in  order  "  to  fortify  the 
declaratory  portions  of  this  bill  with  such  sanctions  as  will  render 
it  effective."     In  conclusion  he  said : 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  221 

"Can  not  protection  be  rendered  to  the  citizen  in  the  mode 
prescribed  by  the  measure  we  now  have  under  consideration? 
If  not,  a  perpetual  state  of  constructive  war  would  be  a  great 
blessing  to  very  many  American  citizens.  If  a  suspension  of 
martial  law  and  a  restoration  of  the  ordinary  forms  of  civil  law 
are  to  result  in  a  subjection  of  our  people  to  the  outrages  under 
the  operation  of  State  laws  and  municipal  ordinances  which  these 
orders  now  prevent,  then  it  were  better  to  continue  the  present 
state  of  affairs  forever.  But  such  is  not  the  case;  we  may  pro- 
vide by  law  for  the  same  ample  protection  through  the  civil 
courts  that  now  depends  on  the  orders  of  our  military  command- 
ers ;  and  I  will  never  consent  to  any  other  construction  of  our 
Constitution,  for  that  would  be  the  elevation  of  the  military  above 
the  civil  power. 

"Before  our  Constitution  was  formed,  the  great  fundamental 
rights  which  I  have  mentioned  belonged  to  every  person  who 
became  a  member  of  our  great  national  family.  No  one  surren- 
dered a  jot  or  tittle  of  these  rights  by  consenting  to  the  formation 
of  the  Government.  The  entire  machinery  of  Government,  as 
organized  by  the  Constitution,  was  designed,  among  other  things, 
to  secure  a  more  perfect  enjoyment  of  these  rights.  A  legislative 
department  was  created,  that  laws  necessary  and  proper  to  this 
end  might  be  enacted;  a  judicial  department  was  erected  to 
expound  and  administer  the  laws ;  an  executive  department  was 
formed  for  the  purpose  of  enforcing  and  seeing  to  the  execution 
of  these  laws;  and  these  several  departments  of  Government 
possess  the  power  to  enact,  administer,  and  enforce  the  laws 
'necessary  and  proper'  to  secure  those  rights  which  existed  ante- 
rior to  the  ordination  of  the  Constitution.  Any  other  view  of  the 
powers  of  this  Government  dwarfs  it,  and  renders  it  a  failure  in 
its  most  important  office. 

"Upon  this  broad  principle  I  rest  my  justification  of  this  bill. 
I  assert  that  we  possess  the  power  to  do  those  things  which  gov- 
ernments are  organized  to  do ;  that  we  may  protect  a  citizen  of 
the  United  States  against  a  violation  of  his  rights  by  the  law  of 
a  single  State;  that  by  our  laws  and  our  courts  we  may  inter- 
vene to  maintain  the  proud  character  of  American  citizenship; 
that  this  power  permeates  our  whole  system,  is  a  part  of  it,  with- 
out which  the  States  can  run  riot  over  every  fundamental  right 
belonging  to  citizens  of  the  United  States;    that  the  right  to 


THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

exercise  this  power  depends  upon  no  express  delegation,  but  runs 
with  the  rights  it  is  designed  to  protect ;  that  we  possess  the  same 
latitude  in  respect  to  the  selection  of  means  through  which  to  ex- 
ercise this  power  that  belongs  to  us  when  a  power  rests  upon  ex- 
press delegation ;  and  that  the  decisions  which  support  the  latter 
maintain  the  former.  And  here,  sir,  I  leave  the  bill  to  the  con- 
sideration of  the  House." 

Mr.  Rogers,  of  New  Jersey,  followed  with  an  argument  against 
the  bill,  because  it  interfered  with  "  States'  Rights."  Under  its 
provisions,  Congress  would  "  enter  the  domain  of  a  State  and  in- 
terfere with  its  internal  police,  statutes,  and  domestic  regulations." 
He  said : 

"  This  act  of  legislation  would  destroy  the  foundations  of  the 
Government  as  they  were  laid  and  established  by  our  fathers, 
who  reserved  to  the  States  certain  privileges  and  immunities 
which  ought  sacredly  to  be  preserved  to  them. 

"  If  you  had  attempted  to  do  it  in  the  days  of  those  who  were 
living  at  the  time  the  Constitution  was  made,  after  the  birth  of 
that  noble  instrument,  the  spirit  of  the  heroes  of  the  Revolution  and 
the  ghosts  of  the  departed  who  laid  down  their  lives  in  defense 
of  the  liberty  of  this  country  and  of  the  rights  of  the  States, 
would  have  come  forth  as  witnesses  against  the  deadly  infliction, 
and  the  destruction  of  the  fundamental  principle  of  the  sover- 
eignty of  the  States  in  violation  of  the  Constitution,  and  the 
breaking  down  of  the  ties  that  bind  the  States,  and  the  violation 
of  the  rights  and  liberties  of  the  white  men  and  white  women  of 
America. 

"  If  you  pass  this  bill,  you  will  allow  the  negroes  of  this  coun- 
try to  compete  for  the  high  office  of  President  of  the  United 
States.  Because  if  they  are  citizens  at  all,  they  come  within  the 
meaning  and  letter  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States, 
which  allows  all  natural-born  citizens  to  become  candidates  for 
the  Presidency,  and  to  exercise  the  duties  of  that  office  if  elected. 

"  I  am  afraid  of  degrading  this  Government ;  I  am  afraid  of 
danger  to  constitutional  liberty ;  I  am  alarmed  at  the  stupendous 
strides  which  this  Congress  is  trying  to  initiate;  and  I  appeal 
in  behalf  of  my  country,  in  behalf  of  those  that  are  to  come  after 
us,  of  generations  yet  unborn,  as  w7ell  as  those  now  living,  that 
conservative  men  on  the  other  side  should  rally  to  the  standard 
of  sovereign  and  independent  States,  and  blot  out  this  idea  which 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  223 

is  inculcating  itself  here,  that  all  the  powers  of  the  States  must 
be  taken  away,  and  the  power  of  the  Czar  of  Russia  or  the  Em- 
peror of  France  must  be  lodged  in  the  Federal  Government. 

"  I  ask  you  to  stand  by  the  law  of  the  country,  and  to  regulate 
these  Federal  and  State  systems  upon  the  grand  principles  upon 
which  they  were  intended  to  be  regulated,  that  we  may  hand 
down  to  those  who  are  to  come  after  us  this  bright  jewel  of  civil 
liberty  unimpaired ;  and  I  say  that  the  Congress  or  the  men  who 
will  strip  the  people  of  these  rights  will  be  handed  down  to  per- 
dition for  allowing  this  bright  and  beautiful  heritage  of  civil  lib- 
erty embodied  in  the  powers  and  sovereign  jurisdiction  of  the 
States  to  pass  away  from  us. 

"I  am  willing  to  trust  brave  men — men  who  have  shown  as 
much  bravery  as  those  who  were  engaged  on  battle-fields  against 
the  armed  legions  of  the  North;  because  I  believe  that  even  when 
they  were  fighting  against  the  flag  of  their  country,  the  great 
mass  of  those  people  were  moved  by  high  and  conscientious  con- 
victions of  duty.  And  in  the  spirit  of  Christianity,  in  the  spirit 
which  Jesus  Christ  exercised  when  he  gave  up  his  own  life  as 
a  propitiation  for  a  fallen  world,  I  would  say  to  those  Southern 
men,  Come  here  in  the  Halls  of  Congress,  and  participate  with  us 
in  passing  laws  which,  if  constitutionally  carried  into  effect,  will 
control  the  interests  and  destinies  of  four  millions  people,  mostly 
living  within  the  limits  of  your  States.5'* 

Mr.  Cook,  of  Illinois,  replied :  "  Mr.  Speaker,  in  listening  to 
the  very  eloquent  remarks  of  the  gentleman  from  New  Jersey 
[Mr.  Rogers],  I  have  been  astonished  to  find  that  in  his  appre- 
hension this  bill  is  designed  to  deprive  somebody,  in  some  State 
of  this  Union,  of  some  right  which  he  has  heretofore  enjoyed.  I 
am  only  sorry  that  he  was  not  specific  enough ;  that  he  did  not  inform 
us  what  rights  are  to  be  taken  away.  He  has  denounced  this  bill 
as  dangerous  to  liberty,  as  calculated  in  its  tendency  at  least  to 
destroy  the  liberties  of  this  country.  I  have  examined  this  bill 
with  some  care,  and,  so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  understand  it, 
I  have  found  nothing  in  any  provision  of  it  which  tends  in  any 
way  to  take  from  any  man,  white  or  black,  a  single  right  he  en- 
joys under  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  United  States. 

"  I  would  have  been  glad  if  he  would  have  told  us  in  what 
manner  the  white  men  of  this  country  would  have  been  placed  in 
a  worse  condition  than  they  are  now,  if  this  becomes  the  law. 


224  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

This  general  denunciation  and  general  assault  of  the  bill,  without 
pointing  out  one  single  thing  which  is  to  deprive  one  single  man 
of  any  right  he  enjoys  under  the  Government,  seems  to  me  not 
entitled  to  much  weight. 

"  When  those  rights  which  are  enumerated  in  this  bill  are  de- 
nied to  any  class  of  men,  on  account  of  race  or  color,  when  they 
are  subject  to  a  system  of  vagrant  laws  which  sells  them  into 
slavery  or  involuntary  servitude,  which  operates  upon  them  as 
upon  no  other  part  of  the  community,  they  are  not  secured  in  the 
rights  of  freedom.  If  a  man  can  be  sold,  the  man  is  a  slave.  If 
he  is  nominally  freed  by  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution,  he 
has  nothing  in  the  world  he  can  call  his  own;  he  has  simply  the 
labor  of  his  hands  on  which  he  can  depend.  Any  combination 
of  men  in  his  neighborhood  can  prevent  him  from  having  any 
chance  to  support  himself  by  his  labor.  They  can  pass  a  law  that 
a  man  not  supporting  himself  by  labor  shall  be  deemed  a  vagrant, 
and  that  a  vagrant  shall  be  sold.  If  this  is  the  freedom  we  gave 
the  men  who  have  been  fighting  for  us  and  in  defense  of  the  Gov- 
ernment, if  this  is  all  we  have  secured  them,  the  President  had 
far  better  never  have  issued  the  Proclamation  of  Emancipation, 
and  the  country  had  far  better  never  have  adopted  the  great  or- 
dinance of  freedom. 

"  Does  any  man  in  this  House  believe  that  these  people  can  be 
safely  left  in  these  States  without  the  aid  of  Federal  legislation  or 
military  power  ?  Does  any  one  believe  that  their  freedom  can  be 
preserved  without  this  aid  ?  If  any  man  does  so  believe,  he  is 
strangely  blind  to  the  history  of  the  past  year ;  strangely  blind  to 
the  enactments  passed  by  Legislatures  touching  these  freedmen. 
And  I  shuddered  as  I  heard  the  honorable  gentleman  from  New 
Jersey  [Mr.  Rogers]  claiming  that  he  was  speaking  and  thinking 
in  the  spirit  which  animated  the  Savior  of  mankind  when  he 
made  atonement  for  our  race;  that  it  was  in  that  spirit  he  was 
acting  Avhen  he  was  striving  to  have  these  people  left  utterly  de- 
fenseless in  the  hands  of  men  who  were  proving,  day  by  day, 
month  by  month,  that  they  desire  to  oppress  them,  for  they  had 
been  made  free  against  their  consent.  Every  act  of  legislation, 
every  expression  of  opinion  on  their  part,  proves  that  these  peo- 
ple would  be  again  enslaved  if  they  were  not  protected-  by  the 
military  arm  of  the  Federal  Government;  without  that  they 
would  be  slaves  to-day.     And  I  submit,  witli  all  deference,  that 


CIVIL  EIGHTS  BILL.  225 

it  is  any  thing  but  the  spirit  which  the  gentleman  claims  to  have 
exercised,  which  prompted  the  argument  he  has  made. 

"For  myself,  I  trust  that  this  bill  will  be  passed,  because  I 
consider  it  the  most  appropriate  means  to  secure  the  end  desired, 
and  that  these  people  will  be  protected.  I  trust  that  we  will  say 
to  them,  Because  upon  our  call  you  aided  us  to  suppress  this  re- 
bellion, because  the  honor  and  faith  of  the  nation  were  pledged 
for  your  protection,  we  will  maintain  your  freedom,  and  redeem 
that  pledge." 

On  the  following  day,  the  House  of  Eepresentatives  resumed 
the  consideration  of  this  bill.  A  speech  was  made  by  Mr.  Thayer, 
of  Pennsylvania.     He  said  : 

"  This  bill  is  the  just  sequel  to,  and  the  proper  completion  of, 
that  great  measure  of  national  redress  which  opened  the  dungeon- 
doors  of  four  million  human  beings.  Without  this,  in  my  judg- 
ment, that  great  act  of  justice  will  be  paralyzed  and  made  useless. 
With  this,  it  will  have  practical  effect,  life,  vigor,  and  enforce- 
ment. It  has  been  the  fashion  of  gentlemen,  holding  a  certain 
set  of  opinions,  in  this  House  to  characterize  that  great  measure 
to  which  I  have  referred  as  a  revolutionary  measure. 

"  Sir,  it  was  a  revolutionary  measure.  It  was  one  of  the  great- 
est, one  of  the  most  humane,  one  of  the  most  beneficial  revolu- 
tions which  ever  characterized  the  history  of  a  free  State ;  but  it 
was  a  revolution  which,  though  initiated  by  the  conflict  of  arms 
and  rendered  necessary  as  a  measure  of  war  against  the  public 
enemy,  was  accomplished  within  and  under  the  provisions  of  the 
Constitution  of  the  United  States.  It  was  a  revolution  for  the 
relief  of  human  nature,  a  revolution  which  gave  life,  liberty,  and 
hope  to  millions  whose  condition, 'until  then,  appeared  to  be  one 
of  hopeless  despair.  It  was  a  revolution  of  which  no  freeman 
need  be  ashamed,  of  which  every  man  who  assisted  in  it  will,  I 
am  sure,  in  the  future  be  proud,  and  which  will  illumine  with  a 
great  glory  the  history  of  this  country. 

"  There  is  nothing  in  this  bill  in  respect  to  the  enrployment  of 
military  force  that  is  not  already  in  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States.  The  power  here  conferred  is  expressly  given  by  that  in- 
strument, and  has  been  exercised  upon  the  most  stupendous  scale 
in  the  suppression  of  the  rebellion.  What  is  this  bill  ?  I  hope 
gentlemen,  even  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  House,  will  not  suf- 
fer their  minds  to  be  influenced  by  any  such  vague,  loose,  and 
15 


226  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

groundless  denunciations  as  these  which  have  proceeded  from  the 
gentleman  from  New  Jersey.  The  bill,  after  extending  these 
fundamental  immunities  of  citizenship  to  all  classes  of  people  in  the 
United  States,  simply  provides  means  for  the  enforcement  of 
these  rights  and  immunities.  How?  Not  by  military  force, 
not  through  the  instrumentality  of  military  commanders,  not 
through  any  military  machinery  whatever,  but  through  the  quiet, 
dignified,  firm,  and  constitutional  forms  of  judicial  procedure. 
The  bill  seeks  to  enforce  these  rights  in  the  same  manner  and 
with  the  same  sanctions  under  and  by  which  other  laws  of  the 
United  States  are  enforced.  It  imposes  duties  upon  the  judicial 
tribunals  of  the  country  which  require  the  enforcement  of  these 
rights.  It  provides  for  the  administration  of  laws  to  protect  these 
rights.  It  provides  for  the  execution  of  laws  to  enforce  them. 
Is  there  any  thing  appalling  in  that?  Is  that  a  military  despot- 
ism? Sir,  it  is  a  strange  abuse  of  language  to  say  that  a  mili- 
tary despotism  is  established  by  wholesome  and  equal  laws.  Yet 
the  gentleman  declaimed  by  the  hour,  in  vague  and  idle  terms, 
against  this  bill,  which  has  not  a  single  offensive,  oppressive, 
unjust,  unusual,  or  tyrannical  feature  in  it.  These  civil  rights 
and  immunities  which  are  to  be  secured,  and  which  no  man  can 
conscientiously  say  ought  to  be  denied,  are  to  be  enforced  through 
the  ordinary  instrumentalities  of  courts  of  justice. 

"  While  engaged  in  this  great  work  of  restoration,  it  concerns 
our  honor  that  we  forget  not  those  who  are  unable  to  help  them- 
selves ;  who,  whatever  may  have  been  the  misery  and  wretched- 
ness of  their  former  condition,  were  on  our  side  in  the  great 
struggle  which  has  closed,  and  whose  rights  we  can  not  disregard 
or  neglect  without  violating  the  most  sacred  obligations  of  duty 
and  of  honor.  To  us  they  look  for  protection  against  the  wrongs 
with  which  they  are  threatened.  To  us  alone  can  they  appeal  in 
their  helplessness  for  succor  and  defense.  To  us  they  hold  out 
to-day  their  supplicating  hands,  asking  for  protection  for  them- 
selves and  their  posterity.  We  can  not  disregard  this  appeal, 
and  stand  acquitted  before  the  country  and  the  world  of  basely 
abandoning  to  a  miserable  fate  those  who  have  a  right  to  demand 
the  protection  of  your  flag  and  the  immunities  guaranteed  to 
every  freeman  by  your  Constitution." 

Mr.  Eldridge,  of  Wisconsin,  opposed  the  bill,  in  a  speech  of 
which  the  following;  are  the  concluding  remarks : 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  227 

"  I  had  hoped  that  this  subject  would  be  allowed  to  rest.  Gen- 
tlemen refer  us  to  individual  cases  of  wrong  perpetrated  upon  the 
freedmen  of  the  South  as  an  argument  why  we  should  extend  the 
Federal  authority  into  the  diiFerent  States  to  control  the  action  of 
the  citizens  thereof.  But,  I  ask,  has  not  the  South  submitted  to 
the  altered  state  of  things  there,  to  the  late  amendment  of  the 
Constitution,  to  the  loss  of  their  slave  property,  with  a  cheerful- 
ness and  grace  that  we  did  not  expect?  Have  they  not  acqui- 
esced more  willingly  than  we  dared  to  hope?  Then  why  not 
trust  them?  Why  not  meet  them  with  frankness  and  kindness? 
Why  not  encourage  them  with  trust  and  confidence? 

"  I  deprecate  all  these  measures  because  of  the  implication  they 
carry  upon  their  face,  that  the  people  who  have  heretofore  owned 
slaves  intend  to  do  thqni  wrong.  I  do  not  believe  it.  So  far  as 
my  knowledge  goes,  and  so  far  as  my  information  extends,  I  be- 
lieve that  the  people  who  have  held  the  freedmen  slaves  will  treat 
them  with  more  kindness,  with  more  leniency,  than  those  of  the 
North  who  make  such  loud  professions  of  love  and  affection  for 
them,  and  are  so  anxious  to  pass  these  bills.  They  know  their 
nature;  they  know  their  wants;  they  know  their  habits;  they 
have  been  brought  up  together,  and  have  none  of  the  prejudices 
and  unkind  feelings  which  many  in  the  North  would  have  toward 
them. 

"  I  do  not  credit  all  these  stories  about  the  general  feeling  of 
hostility  in  the  South  toward  the  negro.  So  far  as  I  have  heard 
opinions  expressed  upon  that  subject,  and  I  have  conversed  with 
many  persons  from  that  section  of  the  country,  they  do  not  blame 
the  negro  for  any  thing  that  has  happened.  As  a  general  thing, 
he  was  faithful  to  them  and  their  interests  until  the  army  reached 
the  place  and  took  him  from  them.  He  has  supported  their  wives 
and  children  in  the  absence  of  the  husbands  and  fathers  in  the 
armies  of  the  South.  He  has  done  for  them  what  no  one  else 
could  have  done.  They  recognize  his  general  good  feeling  toward 
them,  and  are  inclined  to  reciprocate  that  feeling  toward  him. 

"  I  believe  that  is  the  general  feeling  of  the  Southern  people 
to-day.  The  -cases  of  ill-treatment  are  exceptional  cases.  They 
are  like  the  cases  which  have  occurred  in  the  Northern  States 
where  the  unfortunate  have  been  thrown  upon  our  charity. 
Take  for  instance  the  stories  of  the  cruel  treatment  of  the  insane 
in  the  State  of  Massachusetts.    They  may  have  been  barbarously 


228  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

confined  in  the  loathsome  dens,  as  stated  in  particular  instances, 
but  is  that  any  evidence  of  the  general  ill-will  of  the  people  of 
the  State  of  Massachusetts  toward  the  insane  ?  Is  that  any  rea- 
son why  the  Federal  arm  should  be  extended  to  Massachusetts  to 
control  and  protect  the  insane  there? 

"  It  has  also  been  said  that  certain  paupers  in  certain  States 
have  been  badly  used — paupers,  too,  who  were  whites.  Is  that 
any  reason  why  we  should  extend  the  arm  of  the  Federal  Gov- 
ernment to  those  States  to  protect  the  poor  who  are  thrown  upon 
the  charities'of  the  people  there  ? 

"  Sir,  we  must  yield  to  the  altered  state  of  things  in  this 
country.  We  must  trust  the  people ;  it  is  our  duty  to  do  so ;  we 
can  not  do  otherwise.  And  the  sooner  we  place  ourselves  in  a 
position  where  we  can  win  the  confidence  of  our  late  enemies, 
where  our  counsels  will  be  heeded,  where  our  advice  may  be  re- 
garded, the  sooner  will  the  people  of  the  whole  country  be  fully 
reconciled  to  each  other  and  their  changed  relationship ;  the  sooner 
will  all  the  inhabitants  of  our  country  be  in  the  possession  of  all  the 
rights  and  immunities  essential  to  their  prosperity  and  happiness." 

Mr.  Thornton,  of  Illinois,  feared  there  was  "  something  hidden, 
something  more  than  appears  in  the  language  "  of  the  bill.  He 
feared  "  a  design  to  confer  the  right  of  suffrage  upon  the  negro," 
and  urged  that  a  proviso  should  be  accepted  u  restricting  the 
meaning  of  the  words  '  civil  rights  and  immunities.' "  He  re- 
marked further :  "  The  most  serious  objection  that  I  have  to  this 
bill  is,  that  it  is  an  interference  with  the  rights  of  the  South.  It 
was  remarked  by  my  friend  from  Wisconsin  that  it  has  often  been 
intimated  on  this  floor,  and  throughout  the  country,  that  whenever 
a  man  talks  about  either  the  Constitution  or  the  rights  of  the  States, 
he  is  either  a  traitor  or  a  sympathizer  with  treason.  I  do  not  as- 
sume that  the  States  are  sovereign.  They  are  subordinate  to  the 
Federal  Government.  Sovereignty  in  this  country  is  in  the  peo- 
ple, but  the  States  have  certain  rights,  and  those  rights  are  abso- 
lutely necessary  to  the  maintenance  of  our  system  of  government. 
What  are  those  rights  ?  The  right  to  determine  and  fix  the  legal 
status  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  respective  States ;  tlfe  local  powers 
of  self-government ;  the  power  to  regulate  all  the  relations  that 
exist  between  husband  and  wife,  parent  and  child,  guardian  and 
ward ;  all  the  fireside  and  home  rights,  which  are  nearer  and  dearer 
to  us  than  all  others. 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  229 

"Sir,  this  is  but  a  stepping-stone  to  a  centralization  of  the 
Government  and  the  overthrow  of  the  local  powers  of  the  States. 
Whenever  that  is  consummated,  then  farewell  to  the  beauty, 
strength,  and  power  of  this  Government.  There  is  nothing  left 
but  absolute,  despotic,  central  power.  It  lives  no  longer  but  as 
a  naked  despotism.  There  is  nothing  left  to  admire  and  to 
cherish." 

Mr.  Windom,  of  Minnesota,  next  obtained  the  floor.  Referring 
to  the  speech  of  Mr.  Rogers,  he  said :  "  I  wish  to  make  another 
extract  from  the  speech  of  the  gentleman  from  New  Jersey.  He 
said,  '  If  you  pass  this  bill,  you  will  allow  negroes  to  compete  for 
the  high  office  of  the  President  of  the  United  States.'  You  will 
actually  allow  them  to  compete  for  the  Presidency  of  the  United 
States !  As  for  this  fear  which  haunts  the  gentleman  from  New 
Jersey,  if  there  is  a  negro  in  the  country  who  is  so  far  above  all 
the  white  men  of  the  country  that  only  four  millions  of  his  own 
race  can  elect  him  President  of  the  United  States  over  twenty-six 
millions  of  white  people,  I  think  we  ought  to  encourage  such 
talent  in  the  country. 

"Sir,  the  gentleman  has  far  less  confidence  in  the  white  race 
than  I  have,  if  he  is  so  timid  in  regard  to  negro  competition. 
Does  he  really  suppose  that  black  men  are  so  far  superior  to 
white  men  that  four  millions  of  them  can  elect  a  President  of 
their  own  race  against  the  wishes  of  thirty  millions  of  ours? 
Ever  since  I  knew  any  thing  of  the  party  to  which  the  gentle- 
man belongs,  it  has  entertained  this  same  morbid  fear  of  negro 
competition ;  and  sometimes  I  have  thought  that  if  we  were  to 
contemplate  the  subject  from  their  stand-point  we  would  have 
more  charity  than  we  do  for  this  timidity  and  nervous  dread 
which  haunts  them.  I  beg  leave,  however,  to  assure  the  gentle- 
man that  there  is  not  the  slightest  danger  of  electing  a  black 
President,  and  that  he  need  never  vote  for  one,  unless  he  thinks 
him  better  fitted  for  the  office  than  a  white  man." 

With  more  direct  reference  to  the  merits  of  the  question,  Mr. 
Windom  said :  "  Our  warrant  for  the  passage  of  this  bill  is  found 
in  the  genius  and  spirit  of  our  institutions ;  but  not  in  these  alone. 
Fortunately,  the  great  amendment  which  broke  the  shackles  from 
every  slave  in  the  land  contains  an  express  provision  that '  Con- 
gress shall  have  power  to  enforce  this  article  by  appropriate  legis- 
lation.' 


230  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"  When  this  amendment  was  acted  upon,  it  was  well  understood, 
as  it  is  now,  that  although  the  body  of  slavery  might  be  destroyed, 
its  spirit  would  still  live  in  the  hearts  of  those  who  have  sacrificed 
so  much  for  its  preservation,  and  that  if  the  freedmen  were  left  to 
the  tender  mercy  of  their  former  masters,  to  whose  heartless  self- 
ishness has  been  superadded  a  malignant  desire  for  vengeance 
upon  the  negro  for  having  aided  us  in  crushing  the  rebellion,  his 
condition  would  be  more  intolerable  than  it  was  before  the  war. 
And  hence  the  broad  grant  of  power  was  made  to  enable  Congress 
to  enforce  the  spirit  as  well  as  the  letter  of  the  amendment.  Now, 
sir,  in  what  way  is  it  proposed  to  enforce  it?  By  denying  to  any 
one  man  a  single  right  or  privilege  which  he  could  otherwise  con- 
stitutionally or  properly  enjoy  ?  No.  By  conferring  on  any  one 
person  or  class  of  persons  a  single  right  or  immunity  which  every 
other  person  may  not  possess?  By  no  means.  Does  it  give  to 
the  loyal  negro  any  preference  over  the  recent  would-be  .assassins 
of  the  nation  ?  Not  at  all.  It  merely  declares  that  hereafter  there 
shall  be  no  discrimination  in  civil  rights  or  immunities  among  the 
citizens  of  any  State  or  territory  of  the  United  States  on  account 
of  race,  color,  or  previous  condition  of  slavery,  and  that  every 
person,  except  such  as  are  excluded  by  reason  of  crime,  shall  have 
the  same  right  to  enforce  contracts,  to  sue,  be  parties,  and  give 
evidence,  to  inherit,  purchase,  sell,  hold,  and  convey  real  and  per- 
sonal property,  and  to  full  and  equal  benefit  of  all  laws  and  pro- 
ceedings for  the  security  of  person  and  property,  and  shall  be 
subject  to  like  punishment,  pains,  and  penalties,  and  to  none 
other. 

"W$  know,  and  the  whole  world  knoWs,  that  when  in  the 
hour  of  our  extremity  we  called  upon  the  black  race  to  aid  us, 
we  promised  them  not  liberty  only,  but  all  that  that  word  liberty 
implies.  All  remember  how  unwilling  we  were  to  do  any  thing 
which  would  inure  to  the  benefit  of  the  negro.  I  recall  with 
shame  the  fact  that  when,  five  years  ago,  the  so-called  Democ- 
racy— now  Egyptians — were  here  in  this  capital,  in  the  White 
House,  in  the  Senate,  and  on  this  floor,  plotting  the  destruction 
of  the  Government,  and  we  were  asked  to  appease  them  by  sacri- 
ficing the  negro,  two-thirds  of  both  houses  voted  to  rivet  his 
chains  upon  him  so  long  as  the  republic  should  endure.  A  widen- 
ing chasm  yawned  between  the  free  and  slave  States,  and  we  looked 
wildly  around  for  that  wherewith  it  might  be  closed.     In  our  ex- 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  231 

tremity  we  seized  upon  the  negro,  bound  and  helpless,  and  tried  to 
cast  him  in.  But  an  overruling  Providence  heard  the  cries  of  the 
oppressed,  and  hurled  his  oppressors  into  that  chasm  by  hundreds 
of  thousands,  until  the  whole  land  was  filled  with  mourning,  yet 
still  the  chasm  yawned.  In  our  anguish  and  terror,  we  felt  that 
the  whole  nation  would  be  speedily  ingulfed  in  one  common  ruin. 
It  was  then  that  the  great  emancipator  and  savior  of  his  country, 
Abraham  Lincoln,  saw  the  danger  and  the  remedy,  and  seizing 
four  million  bloody  shackles,  he  wrenched  them  from  their  victims, 
and  standing  with  these  broken  manacles  in  his  hands  upraised 
toward  heaven,  he  invoked  the  blessing  of  the  God  of  the  oppressed, 
and  cast  them  into  the  fiery  chasm.  That  offering  was  accepted, 
and  the  chasm  closed. 

"  When  the  reports  from  Port  Hudson  and  Fort  AVagner 
thrilled  all  loyal  hearts  by  the  recital  of  the  heroic  deeds  of  the 
black  soldier,  we  were  not  reminded  that  if  the  negro  were  per- 
mitted to  enjoy  the  same  rights  under  the  Government  his  valor 
helped  to  save  that  are  possessed  by  the  perjured  traitors  who 
sought  its  destruction,  it  would  '  lead  to  a  war  of  races.'  O  no ! 
Then  we  were  in  peril,  and  felt  grateful  even  to  the  negro,  who 
stood  between  us  and  our  enemies.  Then  our  only  hope  of  safety 
was  in  the  brave  hearts  and  strong  arms  of  the  soldier  at  the  front. 
Now,  since  by  the  combined  efforts  of  our  brave  soldiers,  white 
and  black,  the  military  power  of  the  South  has  been  overthrown, 
and  her  Representatives  are  as  eager  to  resume  their  places  on 
this  floor  as  five  years  ago  they  were  to  quit  them  for  a  place  in 
the  rebel  army,  we  are  told  that,  having  been  victorious,  it  becomes 
a  great  nation  like  ours  to  be  magnanimous.  I  answer,  it  is  far 
more  becoming  to  be  just.  I  am  willing  to  carry  my  magnanimity 
to  the  verge  of  justice,  but  not  one  step  beyond.  I  will  go  with 
him  who  goes  furthest  in  acts  of  generosity  toward  our  former 
enemies,  unless  those  acts  will  be  prejudicial  to  our  friends.  But 
when  you  advise  me  to  sacrifice  those  who  have  stood  by  us  during 
the  war,  in  order  to  conciliate  unrepentant  rebels,  whose  hearts 
still  burn  with  ill-suppressed  hatred  to  the  Government,  I  scorn 
your  counsel." 

Mr.  Shellabarger,  of  Ohio,  said :  "  I  agree  with  the  gentleman 
on  the  other  side  of  the  House,  that  this  bill  can  not  be  passed 
under  that  clause  of  the  Constitution  which  provides  that  Con- 
gress  may  pass   uniform   rules   of  naturalization.     Under  that 


232  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

clause  it  is  my  opinion  that  the  act  of  naturalization  must  not 
only  be  the  act  of  the  Government,  but  also  the  act  of  the  indi- 
vidual alien,  by  which  he  renounces  his  former  allegiance  and 
accepts  the  new  one.  And  that  proposition  and  distinction  will 
be  found,  I  think,  in  all  judicious  arguments  upon  the  subject. 

"  There  is  another  class  of  persons  well  recognized,  not  only  in 
our  constitutional  history,  but  also  by  the  laws  of  nations,  who  are 
not  foreigners,  who  occupy  an  intermediate  position,  and  that  in-* 
termediate  position  is  defined  by  the  laws  of  nations  by  the  word 
'subjects/  Subjects  are  all  persons  who,  being  born  in  a  given 
country,  and  under  a  given  government,  do  not  owe  an  allegiance 
to  any  other  government. 

"To  that  class  in  this  country,  according  to  the  decisions  of 
our  courts  hitherto,  belong  American  Indians  and  slaves,  and, 
according  to  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  persons  of  African  descent 
whose  ancestors  were  slaves.  All  these  were  subjects  by  every 
principle  of  international  as  well  as  of  settled  constitutional  law 
in  this  country. 

"  Now,  then,  to  that  class  belong  the  persons  who  are  natural- 
ized by  this  bill.  If  they  were  not,  indeed,  citizens  hitherto,  they 
were  at  least  subjects  of  this  Government,  by  reason  of  their  birth, 
and  by  reason  of  the  fact  that  they  owed  no  foreign  allegiance. 

"  That  brings  me  to  the  next  remark,  and  it  is  this :  that  these 
subjects,  not  owing  any  foreign  allegiance,  no  individual  act  of 
theirs  is  required  in  order  to  their  naturalization,  because  they 
owe  no  foreign  allegiance  to  be  renounced  by  their  individual 
acts,  and  because,  moreover,  being  domiciled  in  our  own  country, 
and  continuing  here  to  reside,  it  is  the  individual  election  of  each 
member  of  the  tribe,  or  race,  or  class,  to  accept  our  nationality; 
therefore,  no  additional  individual  act  is  required  in  order  to  his 
citizenship. 

"  That  being  proved,  it  is  competent  for  the  nationality,  or  for 
the  government,  wherever  that  subject  may  reside,  to  naturalize 
that  class  of  persons  by  treaty  or  by  general  law,  as  is  proposed 
by  the  amendment  of  the  gentleman  from  New  York  [Mr.  Ray- 
mond]. It  is  the  act  of  the  sovereign  alone  that  is  requisite  to 
the  naturalization  of  that  class  of  persons,  and  it  may  be  done 
either  by  a  single  act  naturalizing  entire  races  of  men,  or  by 
adopting  the  heads  of  families  out  of  those  races,  or  it  may  be 
done  to  any  extent,  greater  or  less,  that  may  please  the  sovereign. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  233 

For  this  proposition,  I  refer  gentlemen  who  desire  to  examine 
this  subject  to  the  authorities  that  may  be  found  collected  in  any- 
judicious  work  on  public  law,  and  they  will  find  them  very  fully 
collected,  certainly,  in  the  notes  to  Wheaton. 

"Now,  then,  what  power  may  do  that  act  of  naturalization, 
and  how  may  it  be  exercised?  That  is  also  answered  by  these 
same  authorities.  It  may  be  done  in  this  country  either  by  an 
act  of  Congress,  or  it  may  be  done  by  treaty.  It  has  been  done 
again  and  again  and  again  in  both  ways  in  this  country.  It  was 
done  once  in  the  case  of  the  Choctaw  Indians,  as  you  will  find 
in  the  Statutes-at-Large,  where,  in  case  the  heads  of  families 
desired  to  remain  and  not  to  remove  to  the  West,  it  was  pro- 
vided by  the  treaty  of  September  27,  1830,  that  those  families 
should  be  naturalized  as  a  class. 

"  Then,  again,  it  was  done  in  the  other  way,  by  an  act  of  Con- 
gress, in  the  case  cited  by  my  learned  friend  from  Iowa  [Mr. 
Wilson],  in  the  case  of  the  Stockbridge  Indians. 

"  It  was  done  again,  as  you  may  remember,  in  the  case  of  the 
Cherokees,  in  December,  1835.  There  again  a  class  was  natur- 
alized by  treaty." 

Some  amendments  having  been  proposed,  the  bill  was  recom- 
mitted to  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  with  the  understand- 
ing that  it  should  be  returned  for  consideration  on  Thursday  of 
the  following  week. 

Accordingly,  on  that  day,  March  8,  the  consideration  of  the 
bill  being  resumed,  Mr.  Broomall,  of  Pennsylvania,  addressed 
the  House.  He  viewed  the  bill  as  beneficent  in  its  provisions, 
since  it  made  no  discriminations  against  the  Southern  rebels,  but 
granted  them,  as  well  as  the  negro,  the  rights  of  citizenship. 

"A  question  might  naturally  arise  whether  we  ought  again  to 
trust  those  who  have  once  betrayed  us ;  whether  we  ought  to  give 
them  the  benefits  of  a  compact  they  have  once  repudiated.  Yet 
the  spirit  of  forgiveness  is  so  inherent  in  the  American  bosom, 
that  no  party  in  the  country  proposes  to  withhold  from  these 
people  the  advantages  of  citizenship;  and  this  is  saying  much. 
With  a  debt  that  may  require  centuries  to  pay;  with  so  many 
living  and  mutilated  witnesses  of  the  horrors  of  war;  with  so 
many  saddened  homes,  so  many  of  the  widowed  and  fatherless 
pleading  for  justice,  for  retribution,  if  not  revenge,  it  speaks  well 
for  the  cause  of  Christian  civilization  in  America  that  no  party 


234  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

in  the  country  proposes  to  deprive  the  authors  of  such  immeas- 
urable calamity  of  the  advantages  of  citizenship. 

"  But  the  election  must  be  made.  Some  public  legislative  act 
is  necessary  to  show  the  world  that  those  who  have  forfeited  all 
claims  upon  the  Government  are  not  to  be  held  to  the  strict  rigor 
of  the  law  of  their  own  invoking,  the  decision  of  the  tribunal  of 
their  own  choosing;  that  they  are  to  be  welcomed  back  as  the 
prodigal  son,  whenever  they  are  ready  to  return  as  the  prodi- 
gal son. 

"  The  act  under  consideration  makes  that  election.  Its  terms 
embrace  the  late  rebels,  and  it  gives  them  the  rights,  privileges, 
and  immunities  of  citizens  of  the  Uuited  States,  though  it  does 
not  propose  to  exempt  them  from  punishment  for  their  past 
crimes. 

"  I  might  consent  that  the  glorious  deeds  of  the  last  five  years 
should  be  blotted  from  the  country's  history ;  that  the  trophies 
won  on  a  hundred  battle-fields,  the  sublime  visible  evidences  of 
the  heroic  devotion  of  America's  citizen  soldiery,  should  be  burned 
on  the  altar  of  reconstruction.  I  might  consent  that  the  cemetery 
at  Gettysburg  should  be  razed  to  the  ground ;  that  its  soil  should 
be  submitted  to  the  plow,  and  that  the  lamentation  of  the  bereaved 
should  give  place  to  the  lowing  of  cattle.  But  there  is  a  point 
beyond  which  I  will  neither  be  forced  nor  persuaded.  I  will 
never  consent  that  the  Government  shall  desert  its  allies  in  the 
South,  and  surrender  their  rights  and  interests  to  the  enemy,  and 
in  this  I  will  make  no  distinction  of  caste  or  color,  either  among 
friends  or  foes." 

Mr.  Raymond,  of  New  York,  was  impressed  with  the  impor- 
tance of  the  measure.  "  Whether  we  consider  it  by  itself,  simply 
as  a  proposed  statute,  or  in  its  bearings  upon  the  general  question 
of  the  restoration  of  peace  and  harmony  to  the  Union,  I  regard 
it  as  one  of  the  most  important  bills  ever  presented  to  this  House 
for  its  action,  worthy,  in  every  respect,  to  enlist  the  coolest  and  the 
calmest  judgment  of  every  member  whose  vote  must  be  recorded 
upon  it." 

He  was  in  favor  of  the  first  part  of  the  bill,  which  declares 
"who  shall  be  citizens  of  the  United  States,  and  declares  that 
all  shall  be  citizens  without  distinction  of  race,  color,  or  previous 
condition  of  servitude,  who  are,  have  been,  or  shall  be  born  within 
the  limits  and  jurisdiction  of  the  United  States. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  235 

"Now,  sir,  assuming,  as  I  do,  without  any  further  argument, 
that  Congress  has  the  power  of  admitting  to  citizenship  this 
great  class  of  persons  just  set  free  by  the  amendment  to  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States  abolishing  slavery,  I  suppose  I  need 
not  dwell  here  on  the  great  importance  to  that  class  of  persons 
of  having  this  boon  conferred  upon  them. 

"  We  have  already  conferred  upon  them  the  great,  inestimable, 
priceless  boon  of  personal  liberty.  I  can  not  for  one  moment 
yield  to  what  seems  to  be  a  general  disposition  to  disparage  the 
freedom  we  have  given  them.  I  think  the  fact  that  we  have  con- 
ferred upon  four  million  people  that  personal  liberty  and  freedom 
from  servitude  from  this  time  forward  for  evermore,  is  one  of  the 
highest  and  most  beneficent  acts  ever  performed  by  any  Govern- 
ment toward  so  large  a  class  of  its  people. 

"  Having  gone  thus  far,  I  desire  to  go  on  by  successive  steps 
still  further,  and  to  elevate  them  in  all  respects,  so  far  as  their 
faculties  will  allow  and  our  power  will  permit  us  to  do,  to  an 
equality  with  the  other  persons  and  races  in  this  country.  I 
desire,  as  the  next  step  in  the  process  of  elevating  that  race,  to 
give  them  the  rights  of  citizenship,  or  to  declare  by  solemn  stat- 
ute that  they  are  citizens  of  the  United  States,  and  thus  secure  to 
them  whatever  rights,  immunities,  privileges,  and  powers  belong 
as  of  right  to  all  citizens  of  the  United  States.  I  hope  no  one 
will  be  prepared  or  inclined  to  say  this  is  a  trifling  boon.  If  we 
do  so  estimate  this  great  privilege,  I  fear  we  are  scarcely  in  the 
frame  of  mind  to  act  upon  the  great  questions  coming  before  us 
from'  day  to  day  here.  I,  for  one,  am  not  prepared  or  inclined  to 
disparage  American  citizenship  as  a  personal  qualification  belong- 
ing to  myself,  or  as  conferred  upon  any  of  our  fellow-citizens." 

Mr.  Eaymond  expressed  doubts  as  to  the  constitutionality  of 
that  part  of  the  bill  "  that  provides  for  that  class  of  persons  thus 
made  citizens  protection  against  anticipated  inequality  of  legisla- 
tion in  the  several  States." 

In  this  direction  he  was  desirous  of  avoiding  a  veto.  He  said : 
"Moreover,  on  grounds  of  expediency,  upon  which  I  will  not 
dwell,  I  desire  myself,  and  I  should  feel  much  relieved  if  I 
thought  the  House  fully  and  heartily  shared  my  anxiety,  not  to 
pass  here  any  bill  which  shall  be  intercepted  on  its  way  to  the 
statute-book  by  well-grounded  complaints  of  unconstitutionality 
on  the  part  of  any  other  department  of  the  Government." 


236  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Mr.  Delano,  of  Ohio,  followed,  expressing  doubts  as  to  the 
constitutionality  of  the  measure.  He  considered  it  a  serious  in- 
fringement of  the  rights  of  the  States.  He  said :  "  Now,  sir, 
should  this  bill  be  passed,  that  law  of  the  State  might  be  over- 
thrown by  the  power  of  Congress.  In  my  opinion,  if  we  adopt 
the  principle  of  this  bill,  we  declare,  in  effect,  that  Congress  has 
authority  to  go  into  the  States  and  manage  and  legislate  with  re- 
gard to  all  the  personal  rights  of  the  citizen- — rights  of  life,  lib- 
erty, and  property.  You  render  this  Government  no  longer  a 
Government  of  limited  powers ;  you  concentrate  and  consolidate 
here  an  extent  of  authority  which  will  swallow  up  all  or  nearly 
all  of  the  rights  of  the  States  with  respect  to  the  property,  the 
liberties,  and  the  lives  of  its  citizens." 

He  added,  near  the  close  of  his  address :  "  I  am  not  to  be  un- 
derstood as  denying  the  power  of  this  Government,  especially  that 
great  war  power  which,  when  evoked,  has  no  limit  except  as  it  is 
limited  by  necessity  and  the  laws  of  civilized  warfare.  But,  sir, 
in  time  of  peace  I  would  not  and  I  can  not  stand  here  and  attempt 
the  exercise  of  powers  by  this  General  Government,  which,  if  car- 
ried out  with  all  the  logical  consequences  that  follow  their  assump- 
tion, will,  in  my  opinion,  endanger  the  liberties  of  the  country." 

Mr.  Kerr,  of  Indiana,  maintained  the  theory  that  the  States 
should  settle  questions  of  citizenship  as  relating  to  those  within 
their  borders;  that  "the  privileges  and  immunities  of  citizenship 
in  the  States  are  required  to  be  attained,  if  at  all,  according  to  the 
laws  or  Constitutions  of  the  States,  and  never  in  defiance  of  them." 
To  sustain  this  theory,  he  read  from  a  number  of  authorities,  and 
finally  remarked : 

"This  bill  rests  upon  a  theory  utterly  inconsistent  with,  and  in 
direct  hostility  to,  every  one  of  these  authorities.  It  asserts  the 
right  of  Congress  to  regulate  the  laws  which  shall  govern  in  the 
acquisition  and  ownership  of  property  in  the  States,  and  to  deter- 
mine who  may  go  there  and  purchase  and  hold  property,  and  to 
protect  such  persons  in  the  enjoyment  of  it.  The  right  of  the 
State  to  regulate  its  own  internal  and  domestic  affairs,  to  select  its 
own  local  policy,  and  make  and  administer  its  own  laws,  for  the 
protection  and  welfare  of  its  own  citizens,  is  denied.  If  Congress 
can  declare  what  rights  and  privileges  shall  be  enjoyed  in  the 
States  by  the  people  of  one  class,  it  can,  by  the  same  kind  of  rea- 
soning, determine  what  shall  be  enjoyed  by  every  class.     If  it  can 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  237 

say  who  may  go  into  and  settle  in  and  acquire  property  in  a  State, 
it  can  also  say  who  shall  not.  If  it  can  determine  who  may  tes- 
tify and  sue  in  the  courts  of  a  State,  it  may  equally  determine  who 
shall  not.  If  it  can  order  the  transfer  of  suits  from  the  State  to  the 
Federal  courts,  where  citizens  of  the  same  State  alone  are  parties, 
in  such  cases  as  may  arise  under  this  bill,  it  can,  by  parity  of  logic, 
dispense  with  State  courts  entirely.  Congress,  in  short,  may  erect 
a  great  centralized,  consolidated  despotism  in  this  capital.  And 
such  is  the  rapid  tendency  of  such  legislation  as  this  bill  proposes." 

On  the  succeeding  day,  March  9th,  Mr.  Wilson  having  de- 
manded the  previous  question,  on  the  motion  to  recommit,  was 
entitled  to  the  floor,  but  yielded  portions  of  his  time  to  Mr. 
Bingham  and  Mr.  Shellabarger. 

The  former  had  moved  to  amend  the  motion  to  recommit,  by 
adding  instructions  "  to  strike  out  of  the  first  section  the  words, 
'and  there  shall  be  no  discrimination  in  civil  rights  or  immuni- 
ties among  citizens  of  the  United  States,  in  any  State  or  Terri- 
tory of  the  United  States,  on  account  of  race,  color,  or  previous 
condition  of  slavery/  and  insert  in  the  thirteenth  line  of  the  first 
section,  after  the  word  '  right,'  the  words,  '  in  every  State  and 
Territory  of  the  United  States.'  Also,  to  strike  out  all  parts  of 
said  bill  which  are  penal,  and  which  authorize  criminal  proceed- 
ings, and  in  lieu  thereof  to  give  to  all  citizens  injured  by  denial 
or  violation  of  any  of  the  other  rights  secured  or  protected  by  said 
act,  an  action  in  the  United  States  courts  with  double  costs  in  all 
cases  of  recovery,  without  regard  to  the  amount  of  damages ;  and 
also  to  secure  to  such  persons  the  privilege  of  the  writ  of  habeas 
corpus." 

Mr.  Bingham  said :  "  And,  first,  I  beg  gentlemen  to  consider 
that  I  do  not  oppose  any  legislation  which  is  authorized  by  the 
Constitution  of  my  country  to  enforce  in  its  letter  and  its  spirit 
the  bill  of  rights  as  embodied  in  that  Constitution.  I  know  that 
the  enforcement  of  the  bill  of  rights  is  the  want  of  the  republic. 
I  know  if  it  had  been  enforced  in  good  faith  in  every  State  of  the 
Union,  the  calamities,  and  conflicts,  and  crimes,  and  sacrifices  of 
the  past  five  years  would  have  been  impossible. 

"But  I  feel  that  I  am  justified  in  saying,  in  view  of  the  text 
of  the  Constitution  of  my  country,  in  view  of  all  its  past  inter- 
pretations, in  view  of  the  manifest  and  declared  intent  of  the  men 
who  framed  it,  the  enforcement  of  the  Bill  of  Rights,  touching  the 


238  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

life  liberty,  and  property  of  every  citizen  of  the  republic,  within 
every  organized  State  of  the  Union,  is  of  the  reserved  powers  of 
the  States,  to  be  enforced  by  State  tribunals  and  by  State  officials, 
acting  under  the  solemn  obligations  of  an  oath  imposed  upon  them 
by  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  Who  can  doubt  this 
conclusion  who  considers  the  words  of  the  Constitution, '  the  pow- 
ers not  delegated  to  the  United  States  by  the  Constitution,  nor 
prohibited  by  it  to  the  States,  are  reserved  to  the  States  respect- 
ively, or  to  the  people  ? '  The  Constitution  does  not  delegate  to 
the  United  States  the  power  to  punish  offenses  against  the  life, 
liberty,  or  property  of  the  citizen  in  the  States,  nor  does  it  pro- 
hibit that  power  to  the  States,  but  leaves  it  as  the  reserved  power 
of  the  States,  to  be  by  them  exercised.  The  prohibitions  of  power 
by  the  Constitution  to  the  States  are  express  prohibitions,  as  that 
no  State  shall  enter  into  any  treaty,  etc.,  or  emit  bills  of  credit, 
or  pass,  any  bill  of  attainder,  etc.  The  Constitution  does  not 
prohibit  States  from  the  enactment  of  laws  for  the  general  gov- 
ernment of  the  people  within  their  respective  limits. 

"The  law  in  every  State  should  be  just;  it  should  be  no  re- 
specter of  persons.  It  is  otherwise  now,  and  it  has  been  other- 
wise for  many  years  in  many  of  the  States  of  the  Union.  .  I 
should  remedy  that,  not  by  arbitrary  assumption  of  power,  but 
by  amending  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  expressly 
prohibiting  the  States  from  any  such  abuse  of  power  in  the  fu- 
ture. You  propose  to  make  it  a  penal  offense  for  the  judges  of 
the  States  to  obey  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  their  States,  and 
for  their  obedience  thereto  to  punish  them  by  fine  and  imprison- 
ment as  felons.  I  deny  your  power  to  do  this.  You  can  not 
make  an  official  act,  done  under  color  of  law,  and  without  crim- 
inal intent,  and  from  a  sense  of  public  duty,  a  crime." 

Mr.  Shellabarger  of  Ohio  said :  "  I  do  not  understand  that  there 
is  now  any  serious  doubt  anywhere  as  to  our  power  to  admit  by 
law  to  the  rights  of  American  citizenship  entire  classes  or  races 
who  were  born  and  continue  to  reside  in  our  territory  or  in  ter- 
ritory we  acquire.  I  stated,  the  other  day,  some  of  the  cases  in 
which  we  naturalized  races,  tribes,  and  communities  in  mass,  and 
by  single  exercises  of  national  sovereignty.  This  we  did  by  the 
treaty  of  April  30,  1800,  by  which  we  acquired  Louisiana;  also 
in  the  treaty  of  1819,  by  which  we  acquired  Florida;  also  in  the 
treaty  of  1848,  by  which  we  acquired  part  of  Mexico;  also  by 


^^z^ 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  239 

the  resolution  of  March  1,  1845,  annexing  Texas,  and  the  act 
of  December  29,  same  year,  admitting  Texas  into  the  Union,  we 
made  all  the  people  not  slaves  citizens';  also  by  the  treaty  of  Sep- 
tember 27,  1830,  we  admitted  to  citizens  certain  heads  of  families 
of  Choctaws;  also  by  the  treaty  of  December  29,  1855,  we  did 
the  same  as  to  the  Cherokees;  also  by  the  act  of  March  3,  1843, 
we  admitted  to  full  citizenship  the  Stockbridge  tribe  of  Indians." 
Referring  to  the  first  section  which  his  colleague  had  proposed  to 
amend,  he  said:  " Self-evidently  this  is  the  whole  effect  of  this 
first  section.  It  secures,  not  to  all  citizens,  but  to  all  races  as 
races  who  are  citizens,  equality  of  protection  in  those  enumerated 
civil  rights  which  the  States  may  deem  proper  to  confer  upon  any 
races.  Now,  sir,  can  this  Government  do  this?  Can  it  prevent 
one  race  of  free  citizens  from  being  by  State  laws  deprived  as  a 
race  of  all  the  civil  rights  for  the  securement  of  which  his  Gov- 
ernment was  created,  and  which  are  the  only  considerations  the 
Government  renders  to  him  for  the  Federal  allegiance  which  he 
renders?  It  does  seem  to  me  that  that  Government  which  has 
the  exclusive  right  to  confer  citizenship,  and  which  is  entitled  to 
demand  service  and  allegiance,  which  is  supreme  over  that  due 
to  any  State,  may — nay,  must — protect  those  citizens  in  those 
rights  which  are  fairly  conducive  and  appropriate  and  necessary 
to  the  attainment  of  his  '  protection '  as  a  citizen.  And  I  think 
those  rights  to  contract,  sue,  testify,  inherit,  etc.,  which  this  bill 
says  the  races  shall  hold  as  races  in  equality,  are  of  that  class  which 
arc  fairly  conducive  and  necessary  as  means  to  the  constitutional 
end ;  to-wit,  the  protection  of  the  rights  of  person  and  property 
of  a  citizen.  It  has  been  found  impossible  to  settle  or  define  what 
are  all  the  indispensable  rights  of  American  citizenship.  But  it 
is  perfectly  well  settled  what  are  some  of  these,  and  without  which 
there  is  no  citizenship,  either  in  this  or  any  other  Government. 
Two  of  these  are  the  right  of  petition  and  the  right  of  protection 
in  such  property  as  it  is  lawful  for  that  particular  citizen  to  own." 
The  debate  was  closed  by  Mr.  Wilson,  Chairman  of  the  Judi- 
ciary Committee.  He  said :  "  This  bill,  sir,  has  met  with  oppo- 
sition in  both  houses  on  the  same  ground  that,  in  times  gone  by, 
before  this  land  was  drenched  in  blood  by  the  slaveholders'  rebell- 
ion, was  urged  by  those  who  controlled  the  destinies  of  the  south- 
ern portion  of  the  country,  and  those  who  adhered  to  their  fortunes 
in  the  North,  for  the  purpose  of  riveting  the  chains  of  slavery  and 


240  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

converting  this  republic  into  a  great  slave  nation.  The  argu- 
ments which  have  been  urged  against  this  bill  in  both  houses 
are  but  counterparts  of  the  arguments  used  in  opposition  to  the 
authority  the  Government  sought  to  exercise  in  controlling  and 
preventing  the  spread  of  slavery. 

"  Citizens  of  the  United  States,  as  such,  are  entitled  to  certain 
rights,  and,  being  entitled  to  those  rights,  it  is  the  duty  of  the 
Government  to  protect  citizens  in  the  perfect  enjoyment  of  them. 
The  citizen  is  entitled  to  life,  liberty,  and  the  right  to  property. 
The  gentleman  from  Ohio  tells  us,  in  the  protection  of  these 
rights,  the  citizen  must  depend  upon  the  '  honest  purpose  of  the 
several  States/  and  that  the  General  Government  can  not  inter- 
pose its  strong  right  arm  to  defend  the  citizen  in  the  enjoyment 
of  life,  liberty,  and  in  possession  of  property.  In  other  words, 
if  the  States  of  this  Union,  in  their  '  honest  purpose/  like  the 
honesty  of  purpose  manifested  by  the  Southern  States  in  times 
past,  should  deprive  the  citizen,  without  due  process  of  law,  of 
life,  liberty,  and  property,  the  General  Government,  which  can 
draw  the  citizen  by  the  strong  bond  of  allegiance  to  the  battle- 
field, has  no  power  to  intervene  and  set  aside  a  State  law,  and 
give  the  citizen  protection  under  the  laws  of  Congress  in  the 
courts  of  the  United  States ;  that  at  the  mercy  of  the  States  lie 
all  the  rights  of  the  citizens  of  the  United  States;  that  wiule  it 
was  deemed  necessary  to  constitute  a  great  Government  to  render 
secure  the  rights  of  the  people,  the  frarners  of  the  Government 
turned  over  to  the  States  the  power  to  deprive  the  citizen  of  those 
things  for  the  security  of  which  the  Government  was  framed.  In 
other  words,  the  little  State  of  Delaware  has  a  hand  stronger  than 
the  United  States;  that  revolted  South  Carolina  may  put  under 
lock  and  key  the  great  fundamental  rights  belonging  to  the  citi- 
zen, and  we  must  be  dumb;  that  our  legislative  power  can  not 
be  exercised;  that  our  courts  must  be  closed  to  the  appeal  of  our 
citizens.  That  is  the  doctrine  this  House  of  Representatives,  rep- 
resenting a  great  free  people,  just  emerged  from  a  terrible  war  for 
the  maintenance  of  American  liberty,  is  asked  to  adopt. 

"The  gentleman  from  Ohio  tells  the  House  that  civil  rights 
involve  all  the  rights  that  citizens  have  under  the  Government; 
that  in  the  term  are  embraced  those  rights  which  belong  to  the 
citizen  of  the  United  States  as  such,  and  those  which  belong  to 
a  citizen  of  a  State  as  such;  and  that  this  bill  is  not  intended 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  241 

merely  to  enforce  equality  of  rights,  so  far  as  they  relate  to  citi- 
zens of  the  United  States,  but  invades  the  States  to  enforce  equality 
of  rights  in  respect  to  those  things  which  properly  and  rightfully 
depend  on  State  regulations  and  laws.  My  friend  is  too  sound  a 
lawyer,  is  too  well  versed  in  the  Constitution  of  his  country,  to 
indorse  that  proposition  on  calm  and  deliberate  consideration.  He 
knows,  as  every  man  knows,  that  this  bill  refers  to  those  rights 
which  belong  to  men  as  citizens  of  the  United  States  and  none 
other;  and  when  he  talks  of  setting  aside  the  school  laws,  and 
jury  laws,  and  franchise  laws  of  the  States,  by  the  bill  now  under 
consideration,  he  steps  beyond  what  he  must  know  to  be  the  rule 
of  construction  which  must  apply  here,  and,  as  the  result  of 
which  this  bill  can  only  relate  to  matters  within  the  control  of 
Congress." 

Comparing  Mr.  Bingham's  proposed  amendment  with  the  orig- 
inal bill,  Mr.  Wilson  said :  "  What  difference  in  principle  is  there 
between  saying  that  the  citizen  shall  be  protected  by  the  legisla- 
tive power  of  the  United  States  in  his  rights  by  civil  remedy  and 
declaring  that  he  shall  be  protected  by  penal  enactments  against 
those  who  interfere  with  his  rights?  There  is  no  difference  in 
the  principle  involved.  If  we  may  adopt  the  gentleman's  mode, 
we  may  also  select  the  mode  provided  in  this  bill.  There  is  a 
difference  in  regard  to  the  expense  of  protection;  there  is  also  a 
difference  as  to  the  effectiveness  of  the  two  modes.  Beyond  this, 
nothing.  This  bill  proposes  that  the  humblest  citizen  shall  have 
full  and  ample  protection  at  the  cost  of  the  Government,  whose 
duty  it  is  to  protect  him.  The  amendment  of  the  gentleman 
recognizes  the  principle  involved,  but  it  says  that  the  citizen  de- 
spoiled of  his  rights,  instead  of  being  properly  protected  by  the 
Government,  must  press  his  own  way  through  the  courts  and  pay 
the  bills  attendant  thereon.  This  may  do  for  the  rich,  but  to  the 
poor,  who  need  protection,  it  is  mockery,  o  The  highest  obligation 
which  the  Government  owes  to  the  citizen,  in  return  for  the  alle- 
giance exacted  of  him,  is  to  secure  him  in  the  protection  of  his 
rights.  Under  the  amendment  of  the  gentleman,  the  citizen  can 
only  receive  that  protection  in  the  form  of  a  few  dollars  in  the 
way  of  damages,  if  he  shall  be  so  fortunate  as  to  recover  a  ver- 
dict against  a  solvent  wrong-doer.  This  is  called  protection. 
This  is  what  we  are  asked  to  do  in  the  way  of  enforcing  the  bill 
of  rights.  Dollars  are  weighed  against  the  right  of  life,  liberty, 
16 


242  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

and  property.     The  verdict  of  a  jury  is  to  cover  all  wrongs  and 
discharge  the  obligations  of  the  Government  to  its  citizens. 

"  Sir  I  can  not  see  the  justice  of  that  doctrine.  I  assert  that 
it  is  the  duty  of  the  Government  of  the  United  States  to  provide 
proper  protection  and  to  pay  the  costs  attendant  on  it.  We  have 
gone  out  with  the  strong  arm  of  the  Government  and  drawn  from 
their  homes,  all  over  this  land,  in  obedience  to  the  bond  of  alle- 
giance which  the  Government  holds  on  the  citizen,  hundreds  of 
thousands  of  men  to  the  battle-field ;  and  yet,  while  we  may  ex- 
ercise this  extraordinary  power,  the  gentleman  claims  that  we  can 
not  extend  the  protecting  hand  of  the  Government  to  these  men 
who  have  been  battling  for  the  life  of  the  nation,  but  can  only 
send  them,  at  their  own  cost,  to  juries  for  verdicts  of  a  few  dol- 
lars in  compensation  for  the  most  flagrant  wrong  to  their  most 
sacred  rights.     Let  those  support  that  doctrine  who  will,  I  can 

not." 

At  the  conclusion  of  Mr.  Wilson's  speech,  Mr.  Eldridge,  of 
Wisconsin,  moved  to  lay  the  whole  subject  on  the  table.  This 
motion  was  rejected — yeas,  32;  nays,  118. 

The  House  then  rejected  Mr.  Bingham's  proposed  amendment, 
and  recommitted  the  bill  to  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary. 

On  the  13th  of  March  the  bill  was  reported  back  from  the 
committee  with  some  amendments,  one  of  which  was  to  strike 
out  in  section  one  the  following  words : 

"Without  distinction  of  color,  and  there  shall  be  no  discrimination  in 
civil  rights,  or  immunities  among  citizens  of  the  United  States  in  any  State 
or  Territory  of  the  United  States  on  account  of  race,  color,  or  previous 
condition  of  slavery." 

The  words  were  omitted  to  satisfy  some  who  feared  that  it 
might  be  held  by  the  courts  that  the  right  of  suffrage  was  con- 
ferred thereby.  •  ■ 

Another  amendment  proposed  was  the  addition  of  a  section  to 
the  bill,  to-wit : 

"  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  upon  all  questions  of  law  arising  in  any 
case  under  the  provisions  of  this  act,  a  final  appeal  may  be  taken  to  the 
Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States." 

Other  amendments  proposed  and  adopted  were  chiefly  of  a 
verbal  character. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  H3 

The  main  question  was  finally  taken,  and  the  bill  passed  by 
the  following  vote : 

Yeas — Messrs.  Alley,  Allison,  Ames,  Anderson,  James  M.  Ashley,  Baker, 
Baldwin,  Banks,  Baxter,  Beaman,  Bidwell,  Blaine,  Blow,  Boutwell,  Brom- 
well,  Broomall,  Buckland,  Bundy,  Sidney  Clarke,  Cobb,  Conkling,  Cook, 
Cullom,  Darling,  Davis,  Dawes,  Delano,  Deming,  Dixon,  Donnelly,  Driggs, 
Dumont,  Eliot,  Farnsworth,  Farquhar,  Ferry,  Garfield,  Grinnell,  Abner  C. 
Harding,  Hart,  Hayes,  Higby,  Hill,  Holmes,  Hooper,  Asahel  W.  Hubbard, 
Chester  D.  Hubbard,  Demas  Hubbard,  John  H.  Hubbard,  Hulburd,  James 
Humphrey,  Ingersoll,  Jenckes,  Julian,  Kelley,  Kelso,  Ketcham,  Kuykendall, 
Laflin,  George  V.  Lawrence,  William  Lawrence,  Loan,  Longyear,  Lynch, 
Marston,  Marvin,  McClurg,  McRuer,  Mercur,  Miller,  Moorhead,  Morrill, 
Morris,  Moulton,  Myers,  Newell,  O'Neill,  Orth,  Paine,  Perham,  Pike,  Plants, 
Price,  Alexander  H.  Rice,  Sawyer,  Schenck,  Scofield,  Shellabarger,  Sloan, 
Spalding,  Starr,  Stevens,  Thayer,  Francis  Thomas,  John  L.  Thomas,  Trow- 
bridge, Upson,  Van  Aernam,  Burt  Van  Horn,  Ward,  Warner,  Elihu  B. 
Washburne,  William  B.  Washburn,  Welker,  Wentworth,  Whaley,  Williams, 
James  F.  Wilson,  Stephen  F.  Wilson,  Windom,  and  Woodbridge— 111. 

Nays — Messrs.  Ancona,  Bergen,  Bingham,  Boyer,  Brooks,  Coffroth,  Daw- 
son, Denison,  Glosbrenner,  Goodyear,  Grider,  Aaron  Harding,  Harris, 
Hogan,  Edwin  N.  Hubbell,  Jones,  Kerr,  Latham,  Le  Blond,  Marshall,  Mc- 
Cullough,  Nicholson,  Phelps,  Eadford,  Samuel  J.  Randall,  Willam  H.  Ran- 
dall, Ritter,  Rogers,  Ross,  Rosseau,  Shanklin,  Sitgreaves,  Smith,  Taber, 
Taylor,  Thornton,  Trimble,  and  Winfield— 38. 

Not  Voting — Messrs.  Debs  R.  Ashley,  Barker,  Benjamin,  Brandegee, 
Chanler,  Reader  W.  Clarke,  Culver,  Defrees,  Eckley,  Eggeston,  Eldridge, 
Finck,  Griswold,  Hale,  Henderson,  Hotchkiss,  James  R.  Hubbell,  James  M. 
Humphrey,  Johnson,  Kasson,  Mclndoe,  McKee,  Niblack,  Noell,  Patterson, 
Pomeroy,  Raymond,  John  H.  Rice,  Rollins,  Stilwell,  Strouse,  Robert  T. 
Van  Horn,  Henry  D.  Washburn,  and  Wright— 34. 

It  is  an  illustration  of  the  opinion  which  the  minority  enter- 
tained of  the  bill  to  the  last,  that  after  it  had  finally  passed,  and 
the  previous  question  had  been  moved  on  the  adoption  of  the 
title,  Mr.  Le  Blond  moved  to  amend  the  title  of  the  bill  by 
making  it  read,  "  A  bill  to  abrogate  the  rights  and  break  down 
the  judicial  system  of  the  States." 

On  the  15th  of  March  the  amendments  made  by  the  House 
came  before  the  Senate  for  adoption  in  that  body.  While  these 
were  under  consideration  by  the  Senate,  Mr.  Davis,  of  Kentucky, 
made  two  motions  to  amend,  which  were  rejected.  He  then 
moved  to  lay  the  bill  on  the  table,  and  was  proceeding  to  make 
a  speech,  when  he  was  informed  that  his  motion  was  not  debat- 
able.     He  then  withdrew  his  motion  to  lay  on  the  table,  and 


244  TEE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

moved  to  postpone  the  bill  until  the  first  Monday  of  December 
following.  Finding  that  the  last  amendment  proposed  by  the 
House  of  Representatives  was  before  the  Senate,  and  that  his 
motion  could  not  be  entertained,  he  proceeded  to  make  a  speech 
on  the  question  before  the  Senate.  He  asserted  that  "Congress 
has  no  authority  or  jurisdiction  whatever"  over  the  subject  of 
legislation  which  the  bill  contains.  He  closed  his  remarks  with 
the  following  words :  "  I  therefore,  on  the  grounds  that  I  have 
stated,  oppose  this  bill.  I  know  that  they  weigh  nothing  with 
the  dominant  power  here.  What  care  I  for  that?  "What  care  I 
for  the  manner  in  which  my  suggestions  may  be  received  by  the 
majority?  Nothing — less  than  nothing,  if  possible.  I  am  per- 
forming my  duty  according  to  my  sense  of  that  duty;  and  in 
despite  of  all  opposition,  of  frowns  or  scoffs,  or  of  any  other  op- 
position, come  in  what  form  it  may,  I  will  stand  up  to  the  last 
hour  of  my  service  in  this  chamber,  and  will,  endeavor,  as  best  I 
can,  to  perform  my  duty  whatever  may  betide  me." 

The  amendments  of  the  House  were  agreed  to,  and  the  Civil 
Rights  Bill  wanted  only  Executive  approval  to  become  a  law 
of  the  land. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  245 


CHAPTER  XI. 

THE  CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL  AND  THE  VETO. 

Doubts  as  to  the  President's  Decision — Suspense  ended — The  Veto  Mes- 
sage— Me.  Trumbull's  Answer — Mr.  Keverdy  Johnson  defends  the 
Message — Rejoinder — Remarks  of  Mr.  Yates — Mr.  Cowan  appeals  to 
the  Country — Mr.  Stewart  shows  how  States  may  make  the  Law  a 
Nullity — Mr.  Wade — Mr.  McDougall  on  Persian  Mythology — Mr.  J. 
H.  Lane  defends  the  President — Mr.  Wade — The  President's  Col- 
lar— Mr.  Brown — Mr.  Doolittle — Mr.  Garrett  Dayis — Mr.  Sauls- 
bury — Yeas  and  Nays  in  the  Senate — Vote  in  the  House — The  Civil 
Rights  Bill  becomes  a  Law. 

THE  Civil  Rights  Bill  having  finally  passed  through  Congress, 
on  the  15th  of  March,  by  the  concurrence  of  the  Senate  in 
the  amendments  of  the  House,  was  submitted  to  the  Presi- 
dent for  his  approval.  Much  anxiety  was  felt  throughout  the 
country  to  know  what  would  be  the  fate  of  the  bill  at  the  hands 
of  the  Executive.  Some  thought  it  incredible  that  a  President  of 
the  United  States  would  veto  so  plain  a  declaration  of  rights,  es- 
sential to  the  very  existence  of  a  large  class  of  inhabitants. 
Others  were  confident  that  Mr.  Johnson's  approval  would  not  be 
given  to  a  bill  interfering,  as  they  thought,  so  flagrantly  with  the 
rights  of  the  States  under  the  Constitution. 

All  doubts  were  dispelled,  on  the  27th  of  March,  by  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  President's  Secretary  on  the  floor  of  the  Senate, 
who  said,  in  formal  phrase :  "  Mr.  President,  I  am  directed  by  the 
President  of  the  United  States  to  return  to  the  Senate,  in  which 
house  it  originated,  the  bill  entitled  c  An  act  to  protect  all  persons 
in  the  United  States  in  their  civil  rights,  and  to  furnish  the  means 
of  their  vindication,'  with  his  objections  thereto  in  writing." 

The  Secretary  of  the  Senate  then  read  the  message,  which  was 
heard  with  profound  attention  by  the  Senators,  and  a  large  assem- 
bly which  thronged  the  galleries,  drawn  thither  in  anticipation 
of  the  President's  veto  message. 


246  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"To  the  Senate  of  the  United  States: 

"I  re°ret  that  the  bill  which  has  passed  both  houses  of  Congress,  entitled 
'  An  act  to  protect  all  persons  in  the  United  States  in  their  civil  rights,  and 
furnish  the  means  for  their  vindication,'  contains  provisions  which  I  can 
not  approve,  consistently  with  my  sense  of  duty  to  the  whole  people  and  my 
obligations  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  I  am  therefore  con- 
strained to  return  it  to  the  Senate,  the  house  in  which  it  originated,  with 
my  objections  to  its  becoming  a  law. 

"  By  the  first  section  of  the  bill,  all  persons  born  in  the  United  States,  and 
not  subject  to  any  foreign  power,  excluding  Indians  not  taxed,  are  declared 
to  be  citizens  of  the  United  States.  This  provision  comprehends  the  Chi- 
nese of  the  Pacific  States,  Indians  subject  to  taxation,  the  people  called 
Gypsies,  as  well  as  the  entire  race  designated  as  blacks,  people  of  color, 
negroes,  mulattoes,  and  persons  of  African  blood.  Every  individual  of  those 
races,  born  in  the  United  States,  is  by  the  bill  made  a  citizen  of  the  United 
States.  It  does  not  purport  to  declare  or  confer  any  other  right  of  citizen- 
ship than  Federal  citizenship.  It  does  not  purport  to  give  these  classes  of 
persons  any  status  as  citizens  of  States,  except  that  which  may  result  from 
their  status  as  citizens  of  the  United  States.  The  power  to  confer  the  right 
of  State  citizenship  is  just  as  exclusively  with  the  several  States  as  the 
power  to  confer  the  right  of  Federal  citizenship  is  with  Congress. 

"The  right  of  Federal  citizenship  thus  to  be  conferred  on  the  several  ex- 
cepted races  before  mentioned  is  now,  for  the  first  time,  proposed  to  be 
given  by  law.  If,  as  is  claimed  by  many,  all  persons  who  are  native-born, 
already  are,  by  virtue  of  the  Constitution,  citizens  of  the  United  States,  the 
passage  of  the  pending  bill  can  not  be  necessary  to  make  them  such.  If, 
on  the  other  hand,  such  persons  are  not  citizens,  as  may  be  assumed  from 
the  proposed  legislation  to  make  them  such,  the  grave  question  presents  it- 
self, whether,  when  eleven  of  the  thirty-six  States  are  unrepresented  in  Con- 
gress, at  this  time  it  is  sound  policy  to  make  our  entire  colored  population 
and  all  other  excepted  classes  citizens  of  the  United  States?  Four  millions 
of  them  have  just  emerged  from  slavery  into  freedom.  Can  it  be  reasonably 
supposed  that  they  possess  the  requisite  qualifications  to  entitle  them  to  all 
the  privileges  and  immunities  of  citizens  of  the  United  States?  Have  the 
people  of  the  several  States  expressed  such  a  conviction?  It  may  also  be 
asked  whether  it  is  necessary  that  they  should  be  declared  citizens  in  order 
that  they  may  be  secured  in  the  enjoyment  of  civil  rights?  Those  rights 
proposed  to  be  conferred  by  the  bill  are,  by  Federal  as  well  as  by  State 
laws,  secured  to  all  domiciled  aliens  and  foreigners  even  before  the  comple- 
tion of  the  process  of  naturalization,  and  it  may  safely  be  assumed  that  the 
same  enactments  are  sufficient  to  give  like  protection  and  benefits  to  those 
for  whom  this  bill  provides  special  legislation.  Besides,  the  policy  of  the 
Government,  from  its  origin  to  the  present  time,  seems  to  have  been  that 
persons  who  are  strangers  to  and  unfamiliar  with  our  institutions  and  our 
laws  should  pass  through  a  certain  probation,  at  the  end  of  which,  before 
attaining  the  coveted  prize,  they  must  give  evidence  of  their  fitness  to  re- 
ceive and  to  exercise  the  rights  of  citizens  as  contemplated  by  the  Constitu- 
tion of  the  United  States. 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  247 

"  The  bill,  in  effect,  proposes  a  discrimination  against  large  numbers  of 
intelligent,  worthy,  and  patriotic  foreigners,  and  in  favor  of  the  negro,  to 
whonC  after  long  years  of  bondage,  the  avenues  to  freedom  and  intelligence 
have  now  been  suddenly  opened.  He  must,  of  necessity,  from  his  previous 
unfortunate  condition  of  servitude,  be  less  informed  as  to  the  nature  and 
character  of  our  institutions  than  he  who,  coming  from  abroad,  has  to  some 
extent  at  least,  familiarized  himse%  with  the  principles  of  a  Government 
to  which  he  voluntarily  intrusts  'life,  liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness.' 
Yet  it  is  now  proposed  by  a  single  legislative  enactment  to  confer  the  rights 
of  citizens  upon  all  persons  of  African  descent,  born  within  the  extended 
limits  of  the  United  States,  while  persons  of  foreign  birth,  who  make  our 
land  their  home,  must  undergo  a  probation  of  five  years,  and  can  only  then 
become  citizens  upon  proof  that  they  are  of  'good  moral  character,  attached 
to  the  principles  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  and  well  disposed 
to  the  good  order  and  happiness  of  the  same.' 

"  The  first  section  of  the  bill  also  contains  an  enumeration  of  the  rights 
to  be  enjoyed  by  these  classes,  so  made  citizens,  'in  every  State  and  Terri- 
tory in  the  United  States.'  These  rights  are,  '  To  make  and  enforce  con- 
tracts, to  sue,  be  parties,  and  give  evidence,  to  inherit,  purchase,  lease,  sell, 
hold,  and  convey  real  and  personal  property,'  and  to  have  '  full  and  equal 
benefit  of  all  laws  and  proceedings  for  the  security  of  persons  and  property 
as  is  enjoyed  by  white  citizens.'  So,  too,  they  are  made  subject  to  the  same 
punishment,  pains,  and  penalties  in  common  with  white  citizens,  and  to 
none  others.  Thus  a  perfect  equality  of  the  white  and  black  races  is  at- 
tempted to  be  fixed  by  Federal  law,  in  every  State  of  the  Union,  over  the 
vast  field  of  State  jurisdiction  covered  by  these  enumerated  rights.  In  no 
one  of  these  can  any  State  ever  exercise  any  power  of  discrimination  be- 
tween the  different  races. 

"In  the  exercise  of  State  policy  ever  matters  exclusively  affecting  the  peo- 
ple of  each  State;  it  has  frequently  been  thought  expedient  to  discriminate 
between  the  two  races.  By  the  statutes  of  some  of  the  States,  Northern  as 
well  as  Southern,  it  is  enacted,  for  instance,  that  no  white  person  shall  in- 
termarry with  a  ne-ro  or  mulatto.  Chancellor  Kent  says,  speaking  of  the 
blacks,  that  'marriages  between  them  and  whites  are  forbidden  m  some  of 
the  States  where  slavery  does  not  exist,  and  they  are  prohibited  in  all  the 
slaveholding  States,  and  when  not  absolutely  contrary  to  law,  they  are  re- 
volting  and  regarded  as  an  offense  against  public  decorum.' 

"I  do  not  say  this  bill  repeals  State  laws  on  the  subject  of  marriage  be- 
tween the  two  races,  for  as  the  whites  are  forbidden  to  intermarry  with  the 
blacks,  the  blacks  can  only  make  such  contracts  as  the  whites  themselves 
are  allowed  to  make,  and  therefore  can  not,  under  this  bill,  enter  into  the 
marriage  contract  with  the  whites.  I  cite  this  discrimination,  however,  as 
an  instance  of  the  State  policy  as  to  discrimination,  and  to  inquire  whether, 
if  Congress  can  abrogate  all  State  laws  of  discrimination  between  the  two 
races  in  the  matter  of  real  estate,  of  suits,  and  of  contracts  generally,  Con- 
gress may  not  also  repeal  the  State  laws  as  to  the  contract  of  marriage  be- 
tween the  two  races?  Hitherto  every  subject  embraced  in  the  enumeration 
of  rights  contained  in  this  bill  has  been  considered  as  exclusively  belonging 


248  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

to  the  States.  They  all  relate  to  the  internal  policy  and  economy  of  the  re- 
spective States.  They  are  matters  which  in  each  State  concern  the  domestic 
condition  of  its  people,  varying  in  each  according  to  its  own  peculiar  circum- 
stances, and  the  safety  and  well-being  of  its  own  citizens.  I  do  not  mean 
to  say  that  upon  all  these  subjects  there  are  not  Federal  restraints,  as,  for 
instance,  in  the  State  power  of  legislation  over  contracts,  there  is  a  Federal 
limitation  that  no  State  shall  pass  a  law  impairing  the  obligations  of  con- 
tracts; and  as  to  crimes,  that  no  State  shall  pass  an  ex  post  facto  law;  and 
as  to  money,  that  no  State  shall  make  any  thing  but  gold  and  silver  a  legal 
tender.  But  where  can  we  find  a  Federal  prohibition  against  the  power  of 
any  State  to  discriminate,  as  do  most  of  them,  between  aliens  and  citizens, 
between  artificial  persons  called  corporations  and  natural  persons,  in  the 
right  to  hold  real  estate? 

"If  it  be  granted  that  Congress  can  repeal  all  State  laws  discriminating 
between  whites  and  blacks,  in  the  subjects  covered  by  this  bill,  why,  it  may 
be  asked,  may  not  Congress  repeal  in  the  same  way  all  State  laws  discrim- 
inating between  the  two  races  on  the  subject  of  suffrage  and  office?  If 
Congress  can  declare  by  law  who  shall  hold  lands,  who  shall  testify,  who 
shall  have  capacity  to  make  a  contract  in  a  State,  then  Congress  can  by  law 
also  declare  who,  without  regard  to  color  or  race,  shall  have  the  right  to 
sit  as  a  juror  or  as  a  judge,  to  hold  any  office,  and,  finally,  to  vote,  'in  every 
State  and  Territory  of  the  United  States.'  As  respects  the  Territories,  they 
come  within  the  power  of  Congress,  for,  as  to  them,  the  law-making  power 
is  the  Federal  power;  but  as  to  the  States,  no  similar  provisions  exist,  vest- 
ing in  Congress  the  power  'to  make  rules  and  regulations'  for  them. 

"The  object  of  the  second  section  of  the  bill  is  to  afford  discriminating 
protection  to  colored  persons  in  the  full  enjoyment  of  all  the  rights  secured 
to  them  by  the  preceding  section.  It  declares  '  that  any  person  who,  under 
color  of  any  law,  statute,  ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom,  shall  subject,  or 
cause  to  be  subjected,  any  inhabitant  of  any  State  or  Territory  to  the  de- 
privation of  any  right  secured  or  protected  by  this  act,  or  to  different  pun- 
ishment, pains,  or  penalties  on  account  of  such  person  having  at  one  time 
been  held  in  a  condition  of  slavery  or  involuntary  servitude,  except  as  a 
punishment  for  crime  whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  or 
by  reason  of  his  color  or  race,  than  is  prescribed  for  the  punishment  of 
white  persons,  shall  be  deemed  guilty  of  a  misdemeanor,  and,  on  conviction, 
shall  be  punished  by  fine  not  exceeding  $1,000,  or  by  imprisonment  not 
exceeding  one  year,  or  both,  in  the  discretion  of  the  court.'  This  section 
seems  to  be  designed  to  apply  to  some  existing  or  future  law  of  a  State  or 
Territory  which  may  conflict  with  the  provisions  of  the  bill  now  under  con- 
sideration. It  provides  for  counteracting  such  forbidden  legislation  by  im- 
posing fine  and  imprisonment  upon  the  legislators  who  may  pass  such 
conflicting  laws,  or  upon  the  officers  or  agents  who  shall  put,  or  attempt  to 
put,  them  into  execution.  It  means  an  official  offense,  not  a  common  crime 
committed  against  law  upon  the  persons  or  property  of  the  black  race. 
Such  an  act  may  deprive  the  black  man  of  his  property,  but  not  of  the 
right  to  hold  property.  It  means  a  deprivation  of  the  right  itself,  either  by 
the  State  Judiciary  or  the  State  Legislature.     It  is  therefore  assumed  that, 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  249 

under  this  section,  members  of  State  Legislatures  who  should  vote  for  laws 
conflicting  with  the  provisions  of  the  bill;  that  judges  of  the  State  courts 
who  should  render  judgments  in  antagonism  with  its  terms;  and  that  mar- 
shals and  sheriffs,  who  should,  as  ministerial  officers,  execute  processes, 
sanctioned  by  State  laws  and  issued  by  State  judges,  in  execution  of  their 
judgments,  could  be  brought  before  fither  tribunals,  and  there  subjected  to 
fine  and  imprisonment  for  the  performance  of  the  duties  which  such  State 
laws  might  impose. 

"  The  legislation  thus  proposed  invades  the  judicial  power  of  the  State. 
It  says  to  every  State  court  or  judge,  If  you  decide  that  this  act  is  uncon- 
stitutional; if  you  refuse,  under  the  prohibition  of  a  State  law,  to  allow  a 
negro  to  testify;  if  you  hold  that  over  such  a  subject-matter  the  State  law 
is  paramount,  and  'under  color'  of  a  State  law  refuse  the  exercise  of  the 
right  to  the  negro,  your  error  of  judgment,  however  conscientious,  shall  sub- 
ject you  to  fine  and  imprisonment.  I  do  not  apprehend  that  the  conflicting 
legislation  which  the  bill  seems  to  contemplate  is  so  likely  to  occur  as  to 
render  it  necessary  at  this  time  to  adopt  a  measure  of  such  doubtful  consti- 
tutionality. 

"In  the  next  place,  this  provision  of  the  bill  seems  to  be  unnecessary,  as 
adequate  judicial  remedies  could  be  adopted  to  secure  the  desired  end 
without  invading  the  immunities  of  legislators,  always  important  to  be  pre- 
served in  the  interest  of  public  liberty;  without  assailing  the  independence 
of  the  judiciary,  always  essential  to  the  preservation  of  individual  rights; 
and  without  impairing  the  efficiency  of  ministerial  officers,  always  necessary 
for  the  maintenance  of  public  peace  and  order.  The  remedy  proposed  by 
this  section  seems  to  be,  in  this  respect,  not  only  anomalous,  but  unconsti- 
tutional; for  the  Constitution  guarantees  nothing  with  certainty,  if  it  does 
not  insure  to  the  several  States  the  right  of  making  and  executing  laws  in 
regard  to  all  matters  arising  within  their  jurisdiction,  subject  only  to  the 
restriction  that,  in  cases  of  conflict  with  the  Constitution  and  constitutional 
laws  of  the  United  States,  the  latter  should  be  held  to  be  the  supreme  law 
of  the  land. 

"  The  third  section  gives  the  district  courts  of  the  United  States  exclusive 
'cognizance  of  all  crimes  and  offenses  committed  against  the  provisions  of 
this  act,'  and  concurrent  jurisdiction  with  the  circuit  courts  of  the  United 
States  of  all  civil  and  criminal  cases  '  affecting  persons  who  are  denied  or 
can  not  enforce  in  the  courts  or  judicial  tribunals  of  the  State  or  locality 
where  they  may  be  any  of  the  rights  secured  to  them  by  the  first  section.' 
The  construction  which  I  have  given  to  the  second  section  is  strengthened 
by  this  third  section,  for  it  makes  clear  what  kind  of  denial  or  deprivation 
of  the  rights  secured  by  the  first  section  was  in  contemplation.  It  is  a  de- 
nial or  deprivation  of  such  rights  'in  the  courts  or  judicial  tribunals  of  the 
State.'  It  stands,  therefore,  clear  of  doubt,  that  the  offense  and  the  penal- 
ties provided  in  the  second  section  are  intended  for  the  State  judge,  who,  in 
the  clear  exercise  of  his  function  as  a  judge,  not  acting  ministerially,  but 
judicially,  shall  decide  contrary  to  this  Federal  law.  In  other  words,  when 
a  State  judge,  acting  upon  a  question  involving  a  conflict  between  a  State 
law  and  a  Federal  law,  and  bound,  according  to  his  own  judgment  and  re- 


250  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

sponsibility,  to  give  an  impartial  decision  between  the  two,  comes  to  the 
conclusion  that  the  State  law  is  valid  and  the  Federal  law  is  invalid,  he 
must  not  follow  the  dictates  of  his  own  judgment,  at  the  peril  of  fine  and 
imprisonment.  The  legislative  department  of  the  Government  of  the  United 
States  thus  takes  from  the  judicial  department  of  the  States  the  sacred  and 
exclusive  duty  of  judicial  decision,  and  converts  the  State  judge  into  a  mere 
ministerial  officer,  bound  to  decree  according  to  the  will  of  Congress. 

"It  is  clear  that,  in  States  which  deny  to  persons  whose  rights  are  se- 
cured by  the  first  section  of  the  bill  any  one  of  those  rights,  all  criminal 
and  civil  cases  affecting  them  will,  by  the  provisions  of  the  third  section, 
come  under  the  exclusive  cognizance  of  the  Federal  tribunals.  It  follows 
that  if,  in  any  State  which  denies  to  a  colored  person  any  one  of  all  those 
rights,  that  person  should  commit  a  crime  against  the  laws  of  the  State — 
murder,  arson,  rape,  or  any  other  crime — all  protection  and  punishment 
through  the  courts  of  the  State  are  taken  away,  and  he  can  only  be  tried 
and  punished  in  the  Federal  courts.  How  is  the  criminal  to  be  tried?  If 
the  offense  is  provided  for  and  punished  by  Federal  law,  that  law,  and  not 
the  State  law,  is  to  govern. 

"It  is  only  when  the  offense  does  not  happen  to  be  within  the  purview 
of  the  Federal  law  that  the  Federal  courts  are  to  try  and  punish  him  under 
any  other  law;  then  resort  is  to  be  had  to  'the  common  law,  as  modified 
and  changed '  by  State  legislation,  '  so  far  as  the  same  is  not  inconsistent 
with  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  United  States.'  So  that  over  this  vast 
domain  of  criminal  jurisprudence,  provided  by  each  State  for  the  protection 
of  its  own  citizens,  and  for  the  punishment  of  all  persons  who  violate  its 
criminal  laws,  Federal  law,  wherever  it  can  be  made  to  apply,  displaces 
State  law. 

"  The  question  here  naturally  arises,  from  what  source  Congress  derives 
the  power  to  transfer  to  Federal  tribunals  certain  classes  of  cases  embraced 
in  this  section.  The  Constitution  expressly  declares  that  the  judicial  power 
of  the  United  States  '  shall  extend  to  all  cases  in  law  and  equity  arising  under 
this  Constitution,  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  and  treaties  made,  or  which 
shall  be  made,  under  their  authority;  to  all  cases  affecting  embassadors, 
other  public  ministers,  and  consuls;  to  all  cases  of  admiralty  and  maritime 
jurisdiction;  to  controversies  to  which  the  United  States  shall  be  a  party; 
to  controversies  between  two  or  more  States,  between  a  State  and  citizens 
of  another  State,  between  citizens  of  different  States,  between  citizens  of 
the  same  State  claiming  land  under  grants  of  different  States,  and  between 
a  State,  or  the  citizens  thereof,  and  foreign  States,  citizens,  or  subjects.' 

"Here  the  judicial  power  of  the  United  States  is  expressly  set  forth  and 
detined;  and  the  act  of  September  24,  1789,  establishing  the  judicial  courts 
of  the  United  States,  in  conferring  upon  the  Federal  courts  jurisdiction  over 
cases  originating  in  State  tribunals,  is  careful  to  CQnfine  them  to  the  classes 
enumerated  in  the  above  recited  clause  of  the  Constitution.  This  section 
of  the  bill  undoubtedly  comprehends  case,  and  authorizes  the  exercise  of 
powers  that  are  not,  by  the  Constitution,  within  the  jurisdiction  of  the  courts 
of  the  United  States.  To  transfer  them  to  those  courts  would  be  an  exer- 
cise of  authority  well  calculated  to  excite  distrust  and  alarm  on  the  part  of 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  251 

all  the  States ;  for  the  bill  applies  alike  to  all  of  them — as  well  to  those  that 
have  as  to  those  that  have  not  been  engaged  in  rebellion. 

"It  may  be  assumed  that  this  authority  is  incident  to  the  power  granted 
to  Congress  by  the  Constitution,  as  recently  amended,  to  enforce,  by  appro- 
priate legislation,  the  article  declaring  that  'neither  slavery  nor  involuntary 
servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof  the  party  shall  have 
been  duly  convicted,  shall  exist  within  the  United  States,  or  any  place  sub- 
ject to  their  jurisdiction.'  It  can  not,  however,  be  justly  claimed  that,  with 
a  view  to  the  enforcement  of  this  article  of  the  Constitution,  there  is,  at 
present,  any  necessity  for  the  exercise  of  all  the  powers  which  this  bill 
confers. 

Slavery  has  been  abolished,  and,  at  present,  nowhere  exists  within  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  United  States;  nor  has  there  been,  nor  is  it  likely  there 
will  be,  any  attempt  to  revive  it  by  the  people  of  the  States.  If,  however, 
any  such  attempt  shall  be  ma#e,  it  will  then  become  the  duty  of  the  Gen- 
eral Government  to  exercise  any  and  alL  incidental  powers  necessary  and 
proper  to  maintain  inviolate  this  great  constitutional  law  of  freedom. 

"  The  fourth  section  of  the  bill  provides  that  officers  and  agents  of  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau  shall  be  empowered  to  make  arrests,  and  also  that  other 
officers  may  be  specially  commissioned  for  that  purpose  by  the  President  of 
the  United  States.  It  also  authorizes  circuit  courts  of  the  United  States  and 
the  superior  courts  of  the  Territories  to  appoint,  without  limitation,  commis- 
sioners, who  are  to  be  charged  with  the  performance  of  quasi  judicial  duties. 
The  fifth  section  empowers  the  commissioners  so  to  be  selected  by  the  courts 
to  appoint,  in  writing,  under  their  hands,  one  or  more  suitable  persons,  from 
time  to  time,  to  execute  warrants  and  other  processes  described  by  the  bill. 
These  numerous  official  agents  are  made  to  constitute  a  sort  of  police,  in 
addition  to  the  military,  and  are  authorized  to  summon  a  posse-  comitatus 
and  even  to  call  to  their  aid  such  portion  of  the  land  and  naval  forces  of 
the  United  States,  or  of  the  militia,  'as  may  be  necessary  to  the  perform- 
ance of  the  duty  with  which  they  are  charged.' 

"This  extraordinary  power  is  to  be  conferred  upon  agents  irresponsible 
to  the  Government  and  to  the  people,  to  whose  number  the  discretion  of  the 
commissioners  is  the  only  limit,  and  in  whose  hands  such  authority  might 
be  made  a  terrible  engine  of  wrong,  oppression,  and  fraud.  The  general 
statutes  regulating  the  land  and  naval  forces  of  the  United  States,  the  mi- 
litia, and  the  execution  of  the  laws,  are  believed  to  be  adequate  for  every 
emergency  which  can  occur  in  time  of  peace.  If  it  should  prove  otherwise, 
Congress  can,  at  any  time,  amend  those  laws  in  such  manner  as,  while  sub- 
serving the  public  welfare,  not  to  jeopard  the  rights,  interests,  and  liberties 
of  the  people. 

"The  seventh  section  provides  that  a  fee  of  ten  dollars  shall  be  paid  to 
each  commissioner  in  every  case  brought  before  him,  and  a  fee  of  five  dol- 
lars to  his  deputy,  or  deputies,  'for  each  person  he  or  they  may  arrest  and 
take  before  any  such  commissioner,'  '  with  such  other  fees  as  may  be  deemed 
reasonable  by  such  commissioner,'  '  in  general  for  performing  such  other  du- 
ties as  may  be  required  in  the  premises.'  All  these  fees  are  to  be  '  paid  out 
of  the  Treasury  of  the  United  States,'  whether  there  is  a  conviction  or  not; 


252  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

but  in  case  of  conviction,  they  are  to  be  recoverable  from  the  defendant. 
It  seems  to  me  that,  under  the  influence  of  such  temptations,  bad  men  might 
convert  any  law,  however  beneficent,  into  an  instrument  of  persecution  and 
fraud. 

"  By  the  eighth  section  of  the  bill,  the  United  States  courts,  which  sit  only 
in  one  place  for  white  citizens,  must  migrate,  with  the  marshal  and  district 
attorney  (and  necessarily  with  the  clerk,  although  he  is  not  mentioned),  to 
any  part  of  the  district,  upon  the  order  of  the  President,  and  there  hold  a 
court '  for  the  purpose  of  the  more  speedy  arrest  and  trial  of  persons  charged 
with  a  violation  of  this  act;'  and  there  the  judge  and  the  officers  of  the 
court  must  remain,  upon  the  order  of  the  President,  'for  the  time  therein 
designated.' 

"The  ninth  section  authorizes  the  President,  or  such  person  as  he  may 
empower  for  that  purpose,  to  employ  such  part  of  the  land  and  naval  forces 
of  the  United  States,  or  of  the  militia,  as  shall  be  necessary  to  prevent  the 
violation  and  enforce  the  due  execution  of  this  act.'  This  language  seems 
to  imply  a  permanent  military  force,  that  is  to  be  always  at  hand,  and 
whose  only  business  is  to  be  the  enforcement  of  this  measure  over  the  vast 
region  where  it  is  intended  to  operate. 

"I  do  not  propose  to  consider  the  policy  of  this  bill.  To  me  the  details 
of  the  bill  seem  fraught  with  evil.  The  white  race  and  the  black  race  of 
the  South  have  hitherto  lived  together  under  the  relation  of  master  and  slave 
— capital  owning  labor.  Now,  suddenly,  that  relation  is  changed,  and,  as  to 
the  ownership,  capital  and  labor  are  divorced.  They  stand,  now,  each 
master  of  itself.  In  this  new  relation,  one  being  necessary  to  the  other, 
there  will  be  a  new  adjustment,  which  both  are  deeply  interested  in  making 
harmonious.  Each  has  equal  power  in  settling  the  terms,  and,  if  left  to  the 
laws  that  regulate  capital  and  labor,  it  is  confidently  believed  that  they  will 
satisfactorily  work  out  the  problem.  Capital,  it  is  true,  has  more  intelli- 
gence ;  but  labor  is  never  so  ignorant  as  not  to  understand  its  own  interests, 
not  to  know  its  own  value,  and  not  to  see  that  capital  must  pay  that  value. 
This  bill  frustrates  this  adjustment.  It  intervenes  between  capital  and 
labor,  and  attempts  to  settle  questions  of  political  economy  through  the 
agency  of  numerous  officials,  whose  interest  it  will  be  to  foment  discord 
between  the  two  races;  for,  as  the  breach  widens,  their  employment  will 
continue,  and  when  it  is  closed,  their  occupation  will  terminate. 

"In  all  our  history,  in  all  our  experience  as  a  people  living  under  Fed- 
eral and  State  law,  no  such  system  as  that  contemplated  by  the  details  of 
this  bill  has  ever  before  been  proposed  or  adopted.  They  establish,  for  the 
security  of  the  colored  race,  safeguards  which  go  infinitely  beyond  any  that 
the  General  Government  has  ever  provided  for  the  white  race.  In  fact,  the 
distinction  of  race  and  color  is,  by  the  bill,  made  to  operate  in  favor  of  the 
colored  and  against  the  white  race.  They  interfere  with  the  municipal  leg- 
islation of  the  States,  with  the  relations  existing  exclusively  between  a  State 
and  its  citizens,  or  between  inhabitants  of  the  same  State — an  absorption 
and  assumption  of  power  by  the  General  Government  which,  if  acquiesced 
in,  must  sap  and  destroy  our  federative  system  of  limited  powers,  and  break 
down  the  barriers  which  preserve  the  rights  of  the  States.     It  is  another 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  253 

step,  or  rather  stride,  to  centralization  and  the  concentration  of  all  legisla- 
tive power  in  the  National  Government.  The  tendency  of  the  bill  must  be 
to  resuscitate  the  spirit  of  rebellion,  and  to  arrest  the  progress  of  those  influ- 
ences which  are  more  closely  drawing  around  the  States  the  bonds  of  union 
and  peace. 

"My  lamented  predecessor,  in  his  proclamation  of  the  1st  of  January, 
1863,  ordered  and  declared  that  all  persons  held  as  slaves  within  certain 
States  and  parts  of  States  therein  designated,  were  and  thenceforward  should 
be  free;  and,  further,  that  the  Executive  Government  of  the  United  States, 
including  the  military  and  naval  authorities  thereof,  would  recognize  and 
maintain  the  freedom  of  such  persons.  This  guarantee  has  been  rendered 
especially  obligatory  and  sacred  by  the  amendment  of  the  Constitution  abol- 
ishing slavery  throughout  the  United  States.  I,  therefore,  fully  recognize 
the  obligation  to  protect  and  defend  that  class  of  our  people  whenever  and 
wherever  it  shall  become  necessary,  and  to  the  full  extent  compatible  with 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States. 

"Entertaining  these  sentiments,  it  only  remains  for  me  to  say  that  I  will 
cheerfully  cooperate  with  Congress  in  any  measure  that  may  be  necessary 
for  the  protection  of  the  civil  rights  of  the  freedmen,  as  well  as  those  of 
all  other  classes  of  persons  throughout  the  United  States,  by  judicial  pro- 
cess under  equal  and  impartial  laws,  in  conformity  with  the  provisions  of 
the  Federal  ('  institution. 

"I  now  return  the  bill  to  the  Senate,  and  regret  that,  in  considering  the 
bills  and  joint  resolutions — forty-two  in  number — which  have  been  thus  far 
submitted  for  my  approval,  I  am  compelled  to  withhold  my  assent  from  a 
second  measure  that  has  received  the  sanction  of  both  houses  of  Congress. 

"ANDREW  JOHNSON. 
"Washington,  D.  C,  March.  27,  1866." 

The  death  and  funeral  obsequies  of  Senator  Foot  prevented 
the  Senate  from  proceeding  to  the  consideration  of  the  Presi- 
dent's veto  message  for  more  than  a  week  after  it  was  read.  On 
the  4th  of  April  the  Civil  Rights  Bill  came  up  to  be  recon- 
sidered, the  question  being,  "  Shall  the  bill  pass,  the  objections  of 
the  President  notwithstanding." 

It  devolved  upon  Mr.  Trumbull,  the  author  of  the  bill,  to 
answer  the  objections  of  the  President.  In  answer  to  the  Presi- 
dent's position  that  the  bill  conferred  only  Federal  citizenship, 
and  did  not  give  any  status  as  citizens  of  States,  Mr.  Trumbull 
said :  -*  Is  it  true  that  when  a  person  becomes  a  citizen  of  the 
United  States  he  is  not  also  a  citizen  of  every  State  where  he 
may  happen  to  be?  On  this  point  I  will  refer  to  a  decision 
pronounced  by  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  de- 
livered by  Chief-Justice  Marshall,  the  most  eminent  jurist  who 
ever  sat  upon  an  American  bench.      In  the  case  of  Gassies  vs. 


254  TEE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Ballon,  reported  iu  6  Peters,  the  Chief-Justice,  in  delivering  the 
opinion  of  the  court,  says : 

'"The  defendant  in  error  is  alleged  in  the  proceedings  to  be  a  citizen  of 
the  United  Stated  States,  naturalized  in  Louisiana,  and  residing  there.  This 
is  equivalent  to  an  averment  that  he  is  a  citizen  of  that  State.  A  citizen  of 
the  United  States  residing  in  any  State  of  the  Union  is  a  citizen  of  that  State.'  " 

The  message  declared  "  that  the  right  of  Federal  citizenship  is 
now  for  the  first  time  proposed  to  be  given  by  law."  "  This," 
said  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  is  not  a  misapprehension  of  the  law,  but  a 
mistake  in  fact,  as  will  appear  by  references  to  which  I  shall 
call  the  attention  of  the  Senate."  Mr.  Trumbull  then  referred 
to  the  "collective  naturalization"  of  citizens  of  Louisiana, 
Texas,   and  Cherokees,   Choctaw,   and   Stockbridge   Indians. 

To  the  remark  in  the  message  that  "  if,  as  many  claim,  native- 
born  persons  are  already  citizens  of  the  United  States,  this  bill 
can  not  be  necessary  to  make  them  such,"  Mr.  Trumbull  replied : 
"An  act  declaring  what  the  law  is,  is  one  of  the  most  common 
of  acts  known  by  legislative  bodies.  When  there  is  any  question 
as  to  what  the  law  is,  and  for  greater  certainty,  it  is  the  most 
common  thing  in  the  world  to  pass  a  statute  declaring  it." 

To  the  objection  that  eleven  States  were  unrepresented,  the 
Senator  replied :  "  This  is  a  standing  objection  in  all  the  veto 
messages,  yet  the  President  has  signed  some  forty  bills.  If  there 
is  any  thing  in  this  objection,  no  bill  can  pass  Congress  till  the 
States  are  represented  here.  Sir,  whose  fault  is  it  that  eleven 
States  are  not  represented?  By  what  fault  of  theirs  is  it  that 
twenty-five  loyal  States  which  have  stood  by  this  Union  and  by 
the  Constitution  are  to  be  deprived  of  their  right  to  legislate? 
If  the  reason  assigned  is  a  good  one  now,  it  has  been  a  good  one 
all  the  time  for  the  last  five  years.  If  the  fact  that  some  States 
have  rebelled  against  the  Government  is  to  take  from  the  Gov- 
ernment the  right  to  legislate,  then  the  criminal  is  to  take  ad- 
vantage of  his  crime;  the  innocent  are  to  be  punished  for  the 
guilty. 

"  But  the  President  tells  us  that  '  the  bill,  in  effect,  proposes  a 
discrimination  against  large  numbers  of  intelligent,  worthy,  and 
patriotic  foreigners,  and  in  favor  of  the  negro.'  Is  that  true? 
What  is  the  bill?  It  declares  that  there  shall  be  no  distinction 
in  civil  rights  between  any  other  race  or  color  and  the  white  race. 


\ 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  255 

It  declares  that  there  shall  be  no  different  punishment  inflicted 
on  a  colored  man  in  consequence  of  his  color  than  that  which  is 
inflicted  on  a  white  man  for  the  same  offense.  Is  that  a  dis- 
crimination in  favor  of  the  negro  and  against  the  foreigner — a 
bill  the  only  effect  of  which  is  to  preserve  equality  of  rights? 

"But  perhaps  it  may  be  replied  to  this  that  the  bill  proposes 
to  make  a  citizen  of  every  person  born  in  the  United  States,  and, 
therefore,  it  discriminates  in  that  respect  against  the  foreigner. 
Not  so;  foreigners  are  all  upon  the  same  footing,  whether  black 
or  white.  The  white  child  who  is  born  in  the  United  States  a 
citizen  is  not  to  be  presumed  at  its  birth  to  be  the  equal  in- 
tellectually with  the  worthy,  intelligent,  and  patriotic  foreigner 
who  emigrates  to  this  country.  And,  as  is  suggested  by  a 
Senator  behind  me,  even  the  infant  child  of  a  foreigner  born 
in  this  land  is  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  long  before  his 
father.     Is  this,  therefore,,  a  discrimination  against  foreigners  ? 

"  The  President  also  has  an  objection  to  the  making  citizens  of 
Chinese  and  Gypsies.  I  am  told  that  but  few  Chinese  are  born 
in  this  country,  and  where  the  Gypsies  are  born,  I  never  knew. 
[Laughter.]  Like  Topsy,  it  is  questionable,  whether  they  were 
born  at  all,  but  'just  come.'     [Laughter.] 

"  But,  sir,  perhaps  the  best  answer  to  this  objection  that  the  bill 
proposes  to  make  citizens  of  Chinese  and  Gypsies,  and  this  refer- 
ence to  the  foreigners,  is  to  be  found  in  a  speech  delivered  in  this 
body  by  a  Senator  occupying,  I  think,  the  seat  now  occupied 
across  the  chamber  by  my  friend  from  Oregon,  [Mr.  Williams,] 
less  than  six  years  ago,  in  reply  to  a  message  sent  to  this  body  by 
Mr.  Buchanan,  the  then  President  of  the  United  States,  return- 
ing, with  his  objections,  what  was  known  as  the  Homestead  Bill. 
On  that  occasion  the  Senator  to  whom  I  allude  said : 

1  'But  this  idea  about  "poor  foreigners,"  somehow  or  other,  bewilders  and 
haunts  the  imagination  of  a  great  many.         *        *        #        *        -x- 

"I  am  constrained  to  say  that  I  look  upon  this  objection  to  the  bill  as  a 
mere  quibble  on  the  part  of  the  President,  and  as  being  hard-pressed  for 
some  excuse  in  withholding  his  approval  of  the  measure ;  and  his  allusion 
to  foreigners  in  this  connection  looks  to  me  more  like  the  ad  captandum  of 
the  mere  politician  or  demagogue,  than  a  grave  and  sound  reason  to  be 
offered  by  the  President  of  the  United  States  in  a  veto  message  upon  so  im- 
portant a  measure  as  the  Homstead  Bill.' 

"That  was  the  language   of  Senator  Andrew  Johnson,  now 


256  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

President  of  the  United  States.  [Laughter.]  That  is  probably 
the  best  answer  to  this  objection,  though  I  should  hardly  have 
ventured  to  use  such  harsh  language  in  reference  to  the  President 
as  to  accuse  him  of  quibbling  and  of  demagoguery,  and  of  play- 
ing the  mere  politician  in  sending  a  veto  message  to  the  Congress 
of  the  United  States." 

The  President  had  urged  an  objection  that  if  Congress  could 
confer  civil  rights  upon  persons  without  regard  to  color  or  race, 
it  might  also  confer  upon  them  political  rights,  and  among  them 
that  of  suffrage.  In  reply  to  this,  Mr.  Trumbull  referred  to  the 
policy  of  the  President  himself  in  undertaking  to  "reorganize 
State  governments  in  the  disloyal  States."  He  "claimed  and 
exercised  the  power  to  protect  colored  persons  in  their  civil 
rights,"  and  yet,  when  "  urged  to  allow  loyal  blacks  to  vote,"  he 
held  that  "  he  had  no  power ;  it  was  unconstitutional." 

"But,  sir,"  continued  Mr.  Trumbull,  "the  granting  of  civil 
rights  does  not  and  never  did,  in  this  country,  carry  with  it  rights, 
or,  more  properly  speaking,  political  privileges.  A  man  may  be 
a  citizen  in  this  country  without  a  right  to  vote  or  without  a 
right  to  hold  office.  The  right  to  vote  and  hold  office  in  the 
States  depends  upon  the  legislation  of  the  various  States ;  the 
right  to  hold  certain  offices  under  the  Federal  Government  de- 
pends upon  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  The  Presi- 
dent must  be  a  natural-born  citizen,  and  a  Senator  or  Representa- 
tive must  be  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  for  a  certain  number 
of  years  before  he  is  eligible  to  a  seat  either  in  this  or  the  other 
House  of  Congress ;  so  that  the  fact  of  being  a  citizen  does  not 
necessarily  qualify  a  person  for  an  office,  nor  does  it  necessarily 
authorize  him  to  vote.  Women  are  citizens ;  children  are  citizens ; 
but  they  do  not  exercise  the  elective  franchise  by  virtue  of  their 
citizenship.  Foreigners,  as  is  stated  by  the  President  in  this 
message,  before  they  are  naturalized  are  protected  in  the  rights 
enumerated  in  this  bill,  but  because  they  possess  those  rights  in 
most,  if  not  all,  the  States,  that  carries  with  it  no  right  to  vote. 

"  But,  sir,  what  rights  do  citizens  of  the  United  States  have  ? 
To  be  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  carries  with  it  some  rights, 
and  what  are  they  ?  They  are  those  inherent,  fundamental  rights 
which  belong  to  free  citizens  or  free  men  in  all  countries,  such  as 
the  rights  enumerafed  in  this  bill,  and  they  belong  to  them  in  all 
the  States  of  the  Union.    The  right  of  American  citizenship  means 


* 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  257 

something.  It  does  not  mean,  in  the  case  of  a  foreigner,  that  when 
he  is  naturalized  he  is  to  be  left  entirely  to  the  mercy  of  State 
legislation.  He  has  a  right,  when  duly  naturalized,  to  go  into  any 
State  of  the  Union,  and  to  reside  there,  and  the  United  States 
Government  will  protect  him  in  that  right.  It  will  protect  a 
citizen  of  the  United  States,  not  only  in  one  of  the  States  of  the 
Union,  but  it  will  protect  him  in  foreign  lands. 

"  Every  person  residing  in  the  United  States  is  entitled  to  the 
protection  of  that  law  by  the  Federal  Government,  because  the 
Federal  Government  has  jurisdiction  of  such  questions.  Ameri- 
can citizenship  would  be  little  worth  if  it  did  not  carry  protection 
with  it. 

"  How  is  it  that  every  person  born  in  these  United  States  owes 
allegiance  to  the  Government?  Every  thing  that  he  is  or  has, 
his  property  and  his  life,  may  be  taken  by  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  in  its  defense,  or  to  maintain  the  honor  of  the  nation. 
And  can  it  be  that  our  ancestors  struggled  through  a  long  war  and 
set  up  this  Government,  and  that  the  people  of  our  day  have  strug- 
gled through  another  war,  with  all  its  sacrifices  and  all  its  desola- 
tion, to  maintain  it,  and  at  last  that  we  have  got  a  Government 
which  is  all-powerful  to  command  the  obedience  of  the  citizen, 
but  has  no  power  to  affor^  him  protection  ?  Is  that  all  that  this 
boasted  American  citizenship  amounts  to?  Go  tell  it,  sir,  to  the 
father  whose  son  was  starved  at  Andersonville ;  or  the  widow 
whose  husband  was  slain  at  Mission  Ridge ;  or  the  little  boy  who 
leads  his  sightless  father  through  the  streets  of  your  city,  made 
blind  by  the  winds  and  the  sand  of  the  Southern  coast ;  or  the 
thousand  other  mangled  heroes  to  be  seen  on  every  side,  that  this 
Government,  in  defense  of  which  the  son  and  the  husband  fell,  the 
father  lost  his  eyes,  and  the  others  were  crippled,  had  the  right  to 
call  these  persons  to  its  defense,  but  has  no  right  to  protect  the 
survivors  or  their  friends  in  any  right  whatever  in  any  of  the 
States.  Sir,  it  can  not  be.  Such  is  not  the  meaning  of  our  Con- 
stitution. Such  is  not  the  meaning  of  American  citizenship.  This 
Government,  which  would  go  to  war  to  protect  its  meanest — I  will 
not  say  citizen — inhabitant,  if  you  please,  in  any  foreign  land, 
whose  rights  were  unjustly  encroached  upon,  has  certainly  some 
power  to  protect  its  own  citizens  in  their  own  country.  Allegiance 
and  protection  are  reciprocal  rights." 

To  the  President's  objection  to  the  second  section  of  the  bill, 
17 


258  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

that  it  discriminated  in  favor  of  colored  persons,  Mr.  Trumbull 
replied :  "  It  says,  in  effect,  that  no  one  shall  subject  a  colored 
person  to  a  different  punishment  than  that  inflicted  on  a  white 
person  for  the  same  offense.  Does  that  discriminate  in  favor  of 
the  colored  person  ?  Why,  sir,  the  very  object  and  effect  of  the 
section  is  to  prevent  discrimination,  and  language,  it  seems  to  me, 
could  not  more  plainly  express  that  object  and  effect.  It  may  be 
said  that  it  is  for  the  benefit  of  the  black  man,  because  he  is  now, 
in  some  instances,  discriminated  against  by  State  laws ;  but  that 
is  the  case  with  all  remedial  statutes.  They  are  for  the  relief  of 
the  persons  who  need  the  relief,  not  for  the  relief  of  those  who  have 
the  right  already ;  and  when  those  needing  the  relief  obtain  it,  they 
stand  upon  the  precise  footing  of  those  who  do  not  need  the  benefit 
of  the  law." 

The  President  had  further  objected  to  this  section,  that "  it  pro- 
vides for  counteracting  such  forbidden  legislation  by  imposing  fine 
and  imprisonment  upon  the  legislators  who  may  pass  such  con- 
flicting laws." 

"  Let  us  see,"  said  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  if  that  is  the  language  or 
the  proper  construction  of  the  section.  I  will  read  again  the  first 
lines  of  it.  It  declares  '  that  any  person  who,  under  color  of  any 
law,  ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom,  shall  subject,  or  cause  to  be 
subjected,  etc.,     *     *     *     shall  be  punished/  etc. 

"  Who  is  to  be  punished  ?  Is  the  law  to  be  punished  ?  Are 
the  men  who  make  the  law  to  be  punished  ?  Is  that  the  lan- 
guage of  the  bill  ?  Not  at  all.  If  any  person,  '  under  color  of 
any  law,'  shall  subject  another  to  the  deprivation  of  a  right  to 
which  he  is  entitled,  he  is  to  be  punished.  Who  ?  The  person 
who,  under  the  color  of  the  law,  does  the  act,  not  the  men  who 
made  the  law.  In  some  communities  in  the  South  a  custom  pre- 
vails by  which  different  punishment  is  inflicted  upon  the  blacks 
from  that  meted  out  to  whites  for  the  same  offense.  Does  this 
section  propose  to  punish  the  community  where  the  custom  pre- 
vails? or  is  it  to  punish  the  person  who,  under  color  of  the 
custom,  deprives  the  party  of  his  right?  It  is  a  manifest  per- 
version of  the  meaning  of  the  section  to  assert  any  thing  else. 

"  But  it  is  said  that  under  this  provision  judges  of  the  courts 
and  ministerial  officers  who  are  engaged  in  execution  of  any  such 
statutes  may  be  punished,  and  that  is  made  an  objection  to  this 
bill.     I  admit  that  a  ministerial  officer  or  a  judge,  if  he  acts  cor- 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  259 

ruptly  or  viciously  in  the  execution  or  under  color  of  an  illegal 
act,  may  be  and  ought  to  be  punished ;  but  if  he  acted  innocently, 
the  judge  would  not  be  punished.  Sir,  what  is  a  crime?  It  is 
a  violation  of  some  public  law,  to  constitute  which  there  must  be 
an  act,  and  a  vicious  will  in  doing  the  act ;  or,  according  to  the 
definition  in  some  of  the  law-books,  to  constitute  a  crime  there 
must  be  a  violation  of  a  public  law,  in  the  commission  of  which 
there  must  be  a  union  or  joint  operation  of  act  and  intent,  or 
criminal  negligence ;  and  a  judge  who  acted  innocently,  and  not 
viciously  or  oppressively,  would  never  be  convicted  under  this  act. 
But,  sir,  if  he  acted  knowingly,  viciously,  or  oppressively,  in  dis- 
regard of  a  law  of  the  United  States,  I  repeat,  he  ought  to  be 
punished,  and  it  is  no  anomaly  to  prescribe  a  punishment  in  such 
a  case.  Very  soon  after  the  organization  of  this  Government,  in 
the  first  years  of  its  existence,  the  Congress  of  the  United  States 
provided  for  punishing  officers  who,  under  color  of  State  law, 
violated  the  laws  of  the  United  States." 

Mr.  Trumbull  then  read  from  an  act  of  Congress  passed  in 
1790,  providing  for  the  punishment  of  certain  offenses  against 
foreign  ministers,  and  said :  "  By  this  provision  all  officers  exe- 
cuting any  process  in  violation  of  the  laws  of  the  United  States 
are  to  be  subject  to  a  much  longer  imprisonment  than  is  provided 
by  this  bill. 

"  But,  sir,  there  is  another  answer,  in  my  judgment,  more  con- 
clusive, to  all  these  objections  to  this  second  section,  which  is  the 
vital  part  of  the  bill.  Without  it,  it  would  scarcely  be  worth  the 
paper  on  which  the  bill  is  written.  A  law  without  a  penalty, 
without  a  sanction,  is  of  little  value  to  any  body.  What  good 
does  it  do  for  the  Legislature  to  say,  '  Do  this,  and  forbear  to  do 
that,'  if  no  consequence  is  to  follow  the  act  of  disobedience? 
This  is  the  vitality  of  the  bill.  What  is  the  objection  that  is 
made  to  it,  and  which  seems  even  to  have  staggered  some  friends 
of  the  measure  ?  It  is  because  it  reads  in  the  first  section  that 
any  person  who,  '  under  color  of  law,'  shall  commit  these  offenses, 
shall  be  subject  to  the  penalties  of  the  law.  Suppose  those  words 
had  been  left  out,  and  the  bill  read,  '  any  person  who  shall  subject 
any  inhabitant  of  a  State  to  different  punishment  by  reason  of  his 
color  shall  be  punished,'  would  there  have  been  any  objection  to 
the  bill  then  ?  That  is  the  way  most  criminal  laws  read.  That 
is  the  way  the  law  punishing  conspiracies  against  the  Government 


260  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

reads.  If  two  or  more  persons  conspire  together  to  overthrow 
the  Government,  or  by  force  to.  resist  its  authority,  they  are  lia- 
ble to  indictment,  and,  upon  conviction,  to  imprisonment  in  the 
penitentiary  and  to  heavy  fine.  Would  the  fact  that  the  persons 
engaged  in  the  conspiracy  were  judges  or  governors  or  minister- 
ial officers,  acting  under  color  of  any  statute  or  custom,  screen 
them  from  punishment?     Surely  not. 

"The  words  'under  color  of  law'  were  inserted  as  words  of 
limitation,  and  not  for  the  purpose  of  punishing  persons  who 
would  not  have  been  subject  to  punishment  under  the  act  if  they 
had  been  omitted.  If  an  offense  is  committed  against  a  colored 
person  simply  because  he  is  colored,  in  a  State  where  the  law 
aifords  him  the  same  protection  as  if  he  were  white,  this  act 
neither  has  nor  was  intended  to  have  any  thing  to  do  with  his 
case,  because  he  has  adequate  remedies  in  the  State  courts;  but 
if  he  is  discriminated  against,  under  color  of  State  lawTs,  because 
he  is  colored,  then  it  becomes  necessary  to  interfere  for  his  pro- 
tection. 

"The  assumption  that  State  judges  and  other  officials  are  not 
to  be  held  responsible  for  violations  of  United  States  laws  when 
done  under  color  of  State  statutes  or  customs  is  akin  to  the 
maxim  of  the  English  law  that  the  king  can  do  no  wrong.  It 
places  officials  above  the  law ;  it  is  the  very  doctrine  out  of  which 
the  rebellion  was  hatched. 

"  Every  thing  that  was  done  by  that  wicked  effort  to  overturn 
our  Government  was  done  under  color  of  law.  The  rebels  in- 
sisted that  they  had  a  right  to  secede;  they  passed  ordinances  of 
secession,  they  set  up  State  governments,  and  all  that  they  did 
was  under  color  of  law.  And  if  parties  committing  these  high 
crimes  are  to  go  free  because  they  acted  under  color  of  law,  why 
is  not  Jeff.  Davis  and  every  other  rebel  chief  discharged  at  once  ? 
"Why  did  this  country  put  forth  all  its  resources'  of  men  and 
money  to  put  down  the  rebellion  against  the  authority  of  the 
Government  except  it  had  a  right  to  do  so,  even  as  against  those 
who  were  acting  under  color  of  law  ?  Lee,  with  his  rebel  hordes, 
thundering  upon  the  outskirts  of  this  very  city,  was  acting  un- 
der color  of  law;  every  judge  who  has  held  a  court  in  the  South- 
ern States  for  the  last  four  years,  and  has  tried  and  convicted  of 
treason  men  guilty  of  no  other  offense  than  loyalty  to  the  Union, 
acted  under  color  of  law. 


#  CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  261 

"  Sir,  if  we  had  authority  by  the  use  of  the  army  and  the  war 
power  to  put  down  rebels  acting  under  color  of  law,  I  put  the 
question  to  every  lawyer,  if  we  had  not  authority  to  do  that 
through  the  courts  and  the  judicial  tribunals  if  it  had  been  prac- 
ticable? Suppose  it  had  been  practicable,  through  the  marshals, 
to  arrest  the  Legislature  which  convened  at  Montgomery,  and 
undertook  to  take  the  State  of  Alabama  out  of  the  Union  and 
set  up  a  government  in  hostility  thereto,  ought  it  not  to  have 
been  done? '  Was  not  that  a  conspiracy  against  this  Government? 
When  the  Legislature  assembled  at  Montgomery  in  1861,  and 
resolved  that  the  connection  between  Alabama  and  the  United 
States  was  dissolved,  and  when  its  members  took  steps  to  main- 
tain that  declaration;  when  the  same  thing  was  done  in  South 
Carolina,  and  courts  were  organized  to  carry  out  the  scheme,  will 
any  body  tell  me  it  would  not  have  been  competent,  had  it  been 
practicable,  for  the  United  States  courts  in  those  States  to  have 
issued  process  for  the  arrest  of  every  one  of  those  legislators,  gov- 
ernors, judges,  and  all.  And,  sir,  had  this  been  done,  and  it  had 
turned  out  upon  trial  that  any  of  the  parties  arrested  had  been 
engaged  in  armed  hostility  against  the  United  States,  as  some 
of  them  had  been  when,  with  arms  in  their  hands,  they  seized 
the  arsenals  and  other  public  property  of  the  United  States,  would 
they  not  have  been  found  guilty  of  treason  and  hung  for  treason? 
and  would  the  fact  that  they  had  acted  under  color  of  law  have 
afforded  them  any  protection?" 

The  President,  in  his  Veto  Message,  had  said,  "  I  do  not  ap- 
prehend that  the  conflicting  legislation  which  the  bill  seems  to 
contemplate  is  so  likely  to  occur  as  to  render  it  necessary,  at  this 
time,  to  adopt  a  measure  of  such  doubtful  constitutionality." 

"  That  statement,"  replied  Mr.  Trumbull,  "  makes  it  necessary 
that  I  should  advert  to  the  facts  and  show  whether  there  is  any 
likelihood  of  such  conflicting  legislation;  and  my  testimony  comes 
from  the  President  himself,  or  those  acting  under  his  authority." 

After  having  referred  to  legislative  enactments  of  several  of 
the  Southern  States  very  oppressive  to  the  colored  people,  Mr. 
Trumbull  remarked :  "  Now,  sir,  what  becomes  of  this  declara- 
tion that  there  is  no  necessity  for  any  measure  of  this  kind? 
Here  are  the  laws  of  Texas,  of  Mississippi,  of  Virginia,  to 
which  I  have  referred;  and  laws  equally  oppressive  exist  in 
some  of  the  other  States.     Is  there  no  necessity  to  protect  a 


262  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS 

freedman  when  he  is  liable  to  be  whipped  if  caught  away 
from  home?  no  necessity  to  protect  a  freedman  in  his  rights 
when  he  is  not  permitted  to  hold  or  lease  a  piece  of  ground  in 
a  State?  no  necessity  to  protect  a  freedman  in  his  rights,  who 
will  be  reduced  to  a  slavery  worse  than  that  from  which  he 
has  been  emancipated  if  a  law  is  permitted  to  be  carried  into 
eifect?  Sir,  these  orders  emanate  and  this  information  comes 
from  officers  acting  by  presidential  authority,  and  yet  the  Pres- 
ident tells  us  there  is  no  danger  of  conflicting  legislation." 

After  having  answered  other  objections  of  the  President,  Mr. 
Trumbull  said :  "  I  have  now  gone  through  this  Veto  Message, 
replying  with  what  patience  I  could  command  to  its  various  ob- 
jections to  the  bill.  Would  that  I  could  stop  here,  that  there 
was  no  occasion  to  go  further;  but  justice  to  myself,  justice  to  the 
State  whose  representative  I  am,  justice  to  the  people  of  the  whole 
country,  in  legislation  for  whose  behalf  I  am  called  to  participate, 
justice  to  the  Constitution  I  am  sworn  to  support,  justice  to  the 
rights  of  American  citizenship  it  secures,  and  to  human  liberty, 
now  imperiled,  require  me  to  go  further.  Gladly  would  I  re- 
frain speaking  of  the  spirit  of  this  message,  of  the  dangerous 
doctrines  it  promulgates,  of  the  inconsistencies  and  contradictions 
of  its  author,  of  his  encroachments  upon  the  constitutional  rights 
of  Congress,  of  his  assumption  of  unwarranted  powers,  which,  if 
persevered  in  and  not  checked  by  the  people,  must  eventually  lead 
to  a  subversion  of  the  Government  and  the  destruction  of  liberty. 

"  Congress,  in  the  passage  of  the  bill  under  consideration,  sought 
no  controversy  with  the  President.  So  far  from  it,  the  bill  was 
proposed  with  a  view  to  carry  out  what  were  supposed  to  be  the 
views  of  the  President,  and  was  submitted  to  him  before  its  in- 
troduction in  the  Senate.  I  am  not  about  to  relate  private  dec- 
larations of  the  President,  but  it  is  right  that  the  American  peo- 
ple should  know  that  the  controversy  which  exists  between  him 
and  Congress  in  reference  to  this  measure  is  of  his.  own  seeking. 
Soon  after  Congress  met,  it  became  apparent  that  there  was  a 
difference  of  opinion  between  the  President  and  some  members  of 
Congress  in  regard  to  the  condition  of  the  rebellious  States  and 
the  rights  to  be  secured  to  freedmen. 

"  The  President,  in  his  annual  message,  had  denied  the  consti- 
tutional power  of  the  General  Government  to  extend  the  elective 
franchise  to  negroes,  but  he  was  equally  decided  in  the  assertion 


/ 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  263 

of  the  right  of  every  man  to  life,  liberty,  and  tire  pursuit  of 
happiness.     This  was  his  language : 

" '  But  while  I  have  no  doubt  that  now,  after  the  close  of  the  war,  it  is 
not  competent  for  the  General  Government  to  extend  the  elective  franchise 
in  the  several  States,  it  is  equally  clear  that  good  faith  requires  the  security 
of  the  freedmen  in  their  liberty  and  their  property' 

"  There  were  some  members  of  Congress  who  expressed  the 
opinion  that  in  the  reorganization  of  the  rebellious  States  the 
right  of  suffrage  should  be  extended  to  the  colored  man,  though 
this  was  not  the  prevailing  sentiment  of  Congress.  All  were 
anxious  for  a  reorganization  of  the  rebellious  States,  and  their 
admission  to  full  participation  in  the  Federal  Government  as  soon 
as  these  relations  could  be  restored  with  safety  to  all  concerned. 
Feeling  the  importance  of  harmonious  action  between  the  differ- 
ent departments  of  the  Government,  and  an  anxious  desire  to 
sustain  the  President,  for  whom  I  had  always  entertained  the 
highest  respect,  I  had  frequent  interviews  with  him  during  the 
early  part  of  the  session.  Without  mentioning  any  thing  said  by 
him,  I  may  with  propriety  state  that,  acting  from  the  considera- 
tions I  have  stated,  and  believing  that  the  passage  of  a  law  by 
Congress,  securing  equality  in  civil  rights  to  freedmen  and  all 
other  inhabitants  of  the  United  States,  when  denied  by  State 
authorities,  would  do  much  to  relieve  anxiety  in  the  North,  to 
induce  the  Southern  States  to  secure  these  rights  by  their  own 
action,  and  thereby  remove  many  of  the  obstacles  to  an  early  re- 
construction, I  prepared  the  bill  substantially  as  it  is  now  re- 
turned with  the  President's  objections.  After  the  bill  was  intro- 
duced and  printed,  a  copy  was  furnished  him,  and  at  a  subsequent 
period,  when  it  was  reported  that  he  was  hesitating  about  sign- 
ing ^e  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill,  he  was  informed  of  the  condition 
of  the  Civil  Rights  Bill  then  pending  in  the  House,  and  a  hope 
expressed '  that  if  he  had  objections  to  any  of  its  provisions  he 
would  make  them  known  to  its  friends,  that  they  might  be  rem- 
edied, if  not  destructive  of  the  measure ;  that  there  was  believed 
to  be  no  disposition  on  the  part  of  Congress,  and  certainly  none 
on  my  part,  to  have  bills  presented  to  him  which  he  could  not 
approve.  He  never  indicated  to  me,  nor,  so  far  as  I  know,  to 
any  of  its  friends, 'the  least  objection  to  any  of  the  provisions  of 
the  bill  till  after  its  passage.     And  how  could  he,  consistently 


264  TEE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

with  himself?  The  bill  was  framed,  as  was  supposed,  in  entire 
harmony  with  his  views,  and  certainly  in  harmony  with  what  he 
was  then  and  has  since  been  doing  in  protecting  freedmen  in  their 
civil  rights  all  through  the  rebellious  States.  It  was  strictly  lim- 
ited to  the  protection  of  the  civil  rights  belonging  to  every  free- 
man, the  birthright  of  every  American  citizen,  and  carefully 
avoided  conferring  or  interfering  with  political  rights  or  priv- 
ileges of  any  kind. 

"  If  the  bill  now  before  us,  and  which 
goes  no  further  than  to  secure  civil  rights  to  the  freedman,  can 
not  be  passed,  then  the  constitutional  amendment  proclaiming 
freedom  to  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  land  is  a  cheat  and  a 
delusion. 

"I  can  not  better  conclude  what  I  have  to  say  than  in  the 
language  of  Mr.  Johnson  on  the  occasion  of  the  veto  of  the 
Homestead  Bill,  when,  after  stating  that  the  fact  that  the  Presi- 
dent was  inconsistent  and  changed  his  opinion  with  reference 
to  a  great  measure  and  a  great  principle,  is  no  reason  why  a 
Senator  or  Eepresentative,  who  has  acted  understanding^,  should 
change  his  opinion.     He  said : 

'"I  hope  the  Senate  and  House  of  Kepresentatives,  who  have  sanctioned 
this  bill  by  more  than  a  two-thirds  majority,  will,  according  to  the  Consti- 
tution, exercise  their  privilege  and  power,  and  let  the  bill  become  a  law  of 
the  land,  according  to  the  high  behest  of  the  American  people.'  " 

On  the  next  day,  April  5th,  Mr.  Johnson,  of  Maryland,  made 
a  speech  sustaining  the  Veto  Message.  He  argued  that  negroes 
were  not  citizens  of  the  United  States  by  reason  of  their  birth  in 
the  United  States,  and  that  Congress  had  no  authority  by  law  to 
declare  them  such.  To  sustain  his  position,  he  made  quotations 
from  the  opinion  of  the  minority  in  the  Dred  Scott  case,  ^ren- 
dered by  Mr.  Justice  Curtis.  He  then  proceeded  to  reply  to 
some  of  Mr.  Trumbull's  arguments  against  the  Veto  Message: 
"  The  honorable  member  from  Illinois  disposes  of  the  President's 
objection  to  the  first  section  of  this  bill  by  saying  that  it  is 
merely  declaratory.  I  know  it  is  competent  for  any  legislative 
body,  on  a  question  where  difference  of  opinions  exist  in  relation 
to  any  legal  proposition,  to  remove  them  by  declaratory  legisla- 
tion ;  but  that  is  not  the  purpose  of  this  bill.  "  It  professes  to  be 
passed  in  the  exercise  of  a  positive  and  absolute  power  to  change 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  '    265 

the  law — not  to  declare  what  the  law  was  in  order  to  remove 
doubts,  but  to  make  the  law.  It  assumes,  c*  otherwise  there 
would  be  no  occasion  for  it,  that  birth  alone  does  not  confer 
citizenship ;  and  assuming  that  no  citizenship  would  exist  in  con- 
sequence of  birth  alone,  it  declares  that  birth  alone,  in  spite  of 
State  constitution  and  State  laws,  shall  confer  citizenship.  Now, 
with  all  deference  to  the  opinion  of  the  honorable  Chairman  of 
the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  that  seems  to  me  to  be  a  propo- 
sition as  clearly  erroneous  as  any  proposition  can  be  in  relation 
to  constitutional  law.  The  States  were  sovereign  before  the  Con- 
stitution was  adopted ;  and  the  Constitution  not  only,  according 
to  its  very  terms,  does  not  profess  to  confer  upon  the  Government 
of  the  United  States  all  governmental  power,  but  as  far  as  Con- 
gress is  concerned,  professes  to  confer  upon  that  department  of 
the  Government  only  the  particular  delegated  powers  there  enum- 
erated ;  but  so  anxious  were  the  framers  of  that  instrument  and 
the  great  men  of  that  day,  to  whom  the  subsequent  organization 
of  this  Government  was  left,  that  although  they  had  no  doubt'  as 
to  the  principle  that  only  the  delegated  powers  were  granted,  (and 
the  debates  in  the  Convention  itself  as  well  as  the  debates  in  the 
conventions  of  the  several  States,  when  the  Constitution  was  be- 
fore them  for  adoption  or  rejection,  all  went  upon  the  theory  that 
no  powers  were  conferred  except  such  as  were  expressly  granted,  or 
as  were  reasonably  implied  to  be  as  necessary  to  carry  out  the  pow- 
ers expressly  granted,)  by  the  tenth  amendment  adopted  recently 
after  the  Constitution  went  into  operation,  and  recommended  by 
the  men,  many  of  whom  were  the  framers  of  the  Constitution 
itself,  that  the  powers  not  delegated  by  the  Constitution,  and  not 
denied  to  the  States  by  the  same  instrument,  were  to  be  considered 
reserved  to  the  States  respectively,  or  to  the  people. 

"  Standing,  therefore,  as  well  upon  the  nature  of  the  Govern- 
ment itself,  as  a  Government  of  enumerated  powers  specially  dele- 
gated, as  upon  the  express  provision  that  every  thing  not  granted 
was  to  be  considered  as  remaining  with  the  States  unless  the  Con- 
stitution contained  some  particular  prohibition  of  any  power  before 
belonging  to  the  States,  what  doubt  can  there  be  that  if  a  State 
possessed  the  power  to  declare  who  should  be  her  citizens  before 
the  Constitution  was  adopted  that  power  remains  now  as  absolute 
and  as  conclusive  as  it  was  when  the  Constitution  was  adopted? 
The  bill,  therefore,  changes  the  whole  theory  of  the  Government. 


266  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"  The  President,  then,  I  think,  is  right.  I  go  farther  than  he 
does.  He  expresses  a  doubt  whether  Congress  has  the  power ;  I 
affirm,  with  all  deference  to  the  better  judgment  of  the  majority 
of  the  Senate  who  voted  for  the  bill,  and  to  that  of  the  honorable 
Chairman  of  the  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  that  it  is  perfectly 
clear  that  no  such  power  exists  in  Congress  as  the  one  attempted 
to  be  exercised  by  the  first  section.  I  hold,  with  Mr.  Justice 
Curtis — and  his  opinion  to  this  day  has  never  been  questioned — 
that  citizenship  of  the.  United  States  consequent  upon  birth'  in  a 
State  is  to  depend  upon  the  fact  whether  the  constitution  and 
lawrs  of  the  State  make  the  party  so  born  a  citizen  of  the  State. 

"  But  that  is  not  all.  This  first  section  has  another  provision. 
Not  satisfied  with  making  the  parties  citizens  and  clothing  them 
with  all  the  rights  belonging  to  white  citizens  by  the  laws  of  the 
States,  it  says  that  they  '  shall  be  subject  to  like  punishment, 
pains,  and  penalties,  and  to  none  other.'  That  invades  the  juris- 
diction of  the  States  over  their  criminal  code.  Congress  assumes 
to  define  a  crime,  and  defining  a  crime  gives  to  its  own  courts  ex- 
clusive jurisdiction  over  the  crime  and  the  party  charged  with  its 
perpetration.  It  strikes  at  the  criminal  code  of  the  States.  The 
result,  therefore,  of  the  three  provisions  in  this  section  is,  that 
contrary  to  State  constitutions  and  State  laws,  it  converts  a  man 
that  is  not  a  citizen  of  a  State  into  a  citizen  of  the  State ;  it  gives 
him  all  the  rights  that  belong  to  a  citizen  of  the  State;  and  it 
provides  that  his  punishment  shall  only  be  such  as  the  State  laws 
impose  upon  white  citizens.  Where  is  the  authority  to  do  that? 
If  it  exists,  it  is  still  more  obvious  that  the  result  is  an  entire 
annihilation  of  the  power  of  the  States.  It  seems  to  be  the  fash- 
ion of  the  hour — I  do  not  know  that  my  honorable  friend  from 
Illinois  ffoes  to  that  extent — to  hold  to  the  doctrine  that  the 
sooner  every  thing  is  vested  in  the  Government  of  the  United 
States  the  better  for  the  country.  It  is  a  perilous  delusion.  If 
such  a  proposition  had  been  supposed  to  be  found  any  where  in 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  it  never  would  have  been 
adopted  by  the  people ;  and  if  it  is  assumed,  or  if  it  is  considered 
as  constitutionally  existing  by  virtue  of  some  powder  not  before 
known,  the  Government  will  not  last  half  a  century.  I  have  not 
time  to  read  from  the  writings  of  Mr.  Madison  and  Mr.  Hamilton 
and  the  decisions  of  the  Supreme  Court  on  the  question. 

"But  you,  Mr.  President,  know  very  well  that  consolidation 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  267 

» 
of  power  in  the  Government  of  the  United  States  was  looked 
upon  as  certain  ruin  to  republican  institutions.  In  the  first 
place,  it  would  be  sure  to  result  in  anarchy ;  and  in  the  second 
place,  in  order  to  be  saved  from  the  horrors  of  anarchy,  we  should 
be  compelled  to  take  refuge  in  despotic  power,  and  the  days  of 
constitutional  liberty  would  soon  be  numbered.  The  doubt  then 
was,  and  the  doubt  now  should  be  more  firmly  settled  in  the  pub- 
lic mind,  that  a  country  as  extensive  as  that  of  the  United  States 
can  not  exist  except  by  means  of  divided  sovereignties ;  one  sov- 
ereignty liaving  charge  of  all  external  matters,  or  matters  between 
the  States  to  which  the  powers  of  the  States  are  inadequate ;  the 
other  sovereignties  having  power  over  all  internal  matters  to  the 
management  of  which  they  are  adequate.  Despotism  would  soon 
be  our  fate,  preceded  by  anarchy;  the  military  chieftain  instead 
of  being  looked  upon,  as  he  should  be  by  every  republican,  with 
alarm  and  concern,  would  be  hailed  as  a  savior  in  order  to  save 
us  from  the  horrors  of  disorganization^ 

"The  honorable  member  referred  to  the  act  of  1790,  but  it 
relates  entirely  to  different  subjects,  and  all  the  statutes  to  which 
he  adverted  are  statutes  of  the  same  description.  What  is  the 
twenty-sixth  section  of  the  act  of  1790  to  which  he  referred? 
The  preceding  section  provided  that  no  one  should  sue  a  foreign 
minister,  and  the  section  to  which  my  friend  referred  particularly, 
said  that  if  a  party  did  sue  a  foreign  minister  he  should  be  liable 
to  be  punished.  Certainly ;  but  why  ?  Because  the  Government 
of  the  United  States  was  vested  with  the  exclusive  authority  in 
all  cases  depending  upon  the  law  of  nations ;  and  the  law  of  na- 
tions saving  from  responsibility  embassadors  accredited  to  the 
United  States,  for  civil  debts,  he  who  attempted  to  interfere 
offended  against  the  Government,  and  he  offended  in  relation  to 
a  subject  exclusively  committed  to  the  General  Government.  The 
power,  therefore,  which  Congress  exerted  in  the  particular  legis- 
lation to  which  the  honorable  member  reverted  is  just  the  power 
which  they  exert  when  they  provide  for  the  punishment  of  any 
man  who  counterfeits  the  currency  of  the  United  States,  or  forges 
its  paper,  or  forges  its  bonds,  or  interferes  with  the  administration 
of  the  Post-office  Department.  These  are  all  powers  incidental 
to  the  possession  of  the  express  power,  and  in  the  case  to  which 
he  adverted  the  express  power  was  one  necessarily  belonging  to 
the  Government,  because  it  was  a  power  belonging  to  and  regu- 


268  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

i 
lated  by  the  law  of  nations,  and   not  by  any  municipal  regu- 
lation. 

"  The  honorable  member  from  Illinois  tells  us  that  the  Presi- 
dent's objection,  that  there  are  eleven  States  not  now  represented, 
is  entitled  to  no  consideration  whatever.  The  honorable  member 
seems  to  suppose  that  the  President  adverted  to  the  fact  that  there 
were  eleven  States  not  represented  as  showing  that  Congress  pos- 
sessed no  constitutional  authority  to  legislate  upon  the  subject, 
supposing  that  they  would  have  had  the  authority  if  those  States 
were  represented.  That  is  not  the  view  taken  by  the  president; 
it  is  an  entire  misapprehension  of  the  doctrine  of  the  President. 
He  says  no  such  thing,  and  he  intimates  no  such  thing.  But  as- 
suming, what  in  another  part  of  the  message  he  denies,  that 'the 
authority  might  be  considered  as  existing,  he  submits  as  a  question 
of  policy  whether  it  is  right  to  change  the  whole  domestic  econ- 
omy of  those  eleven  States,  in  the  absence  of  any  representation 
upon  this  floor  from  them.  My  honorable  friend  asks  whose 
fault  it  is  that  they  are  not  represented.  Why  are  they  not  here? 
He  says  their  hands  are  reeking  with  the  blood  of  loyal  men; 
that  they  are  unable  to  take  the  oath  which  a  statute  that  he  as- 
sumes to  be  constitutional  has  provided ;  and  he  would  have  the 
country  and  the  Senate  to  believe  that  that  is  the  reason  why  they 
are  not  here.  Is  that  the  fact,  Mr.  President  ?  These  States  are 
organized,  and  how  organized?  What  have  they  done?  They 
have  abolished  slavery  by  an  astonishing  unanimity;  they  have 
abolished  nearly  all  the  distinctions  which  antecedently  existed 
between  the  two  races.  They  have  permitted  the  negroes  to  sue. 
they  have  permitted  them  to  testify ;  they  have  not  yet  permitted 
them  to  vote. 

"  Why  are  they  not  received?  Because,  in  the  judgment  of  the 
Senate,  before  the  States  can  be  considered  as  restored,  Congress- 
ional  legislation  on  the  subject  is  necessary.  Whose  fault  is  it 
that  there  has  not  been  Congressional  legislation  ?  Is  it  the  fault 
of  the  eleven  States  ?  Certainly  not ,-  it  is  our  own  fault.  And 
why  is  it  that  we  are  in  point  of  fact  delaying  their  admission, 
whether  it  is  to  be  considered  as  a  fault  or  not?  Because  we 
want  to  inquire  into  the  condition  of  these  States.  Why,  in  the 
name  of  Heaven !  how  long  have  we  been  here  ?  We  came  here 
early  in  December,  and  this  is  the  month  of  April ;  and  here  we 
may  remain  until  July,  or,  as  rumor  has  it,  until  next  December ; 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  269 

and  shall  we  be  satisfied  within  that  time  that  Congressional  leg- 
islation may  be  safely  adopted  ? 

"J  have  a  word  or  two  more  to  say.  My  honorable  friend 
from  Illinois,  as  it  seemed  to  me— his  nature  is  impulsive,  and 
perhaps  he  was  carried  further  than  he  intended— seemed  to  in- 
timate that  the  President  of  the  United  States'  had  not  acted 
sincerely  in  this  matter;  that  his  usurpation  was  a  clear  one, 
and  that  he  was  to  be  censured  for  that  usurpation.  What  has 
he  done?  He  has  vetoed  this  bill.  He  had  a  constitutional  right 
to  do  so.  Not  only  that ;  if  he  believed  that  the  effect  of  the  bill 
would  be  that  which  he  states  in  his  Veto  Message,  he  was  not  only 
authorized  but  bound  to  veto  it.  His  oath  is  to  'preserve'  as 
well  as  to  ' protect  and  defend'  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States;  and  believing,  as  he  does,  and  in  that  opinion  I  concur, 
that  this  bill  assails  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  he 
would  have  been  false  to  his  plighted  faith  if  he  had  not  returned 
it  with  his  objections. 

"He  desires— and  who  does  not?— that  the  Union  shall  be  re- 
stored as  it  originally  existed.  He  has  a  policy  which  he  thinks 
is  best  calculated  to  effect  it.  He  may  be  mistaken,  but  he  is 
honest.  Congress  may  differ  with  him.  I  hope  they  will  agree 
sooner  or  later,  because  I  believe,  as  I  believe  in  my  existence, 
that  the  condition  in  which  the  country  now  is  can  not  remain 
without  producing  troubles  that  may  shake  our  reputation,  not 
only  in  our  own  eyes,  but  in  the  eyes  of  the  civilized  world.  Let 
the  day  come  when  we  shall  be  again  together,  and  then,  forget- 
ting the  past,  hailing  the  present,  and  looking  forward  to  the 
future,  we  shall  remember,  if  we  remember  the  past  at  all,  for 
the  exhibition  of  valor  and  gallantry  displayed  on  both  sides, 
and  find  in  it,  when  we  become  one,  a  guarantee  that  in  the  fu- 
ture no  foreign  hostilities  are  to  be  dreaded,  and  that  no  civil 
discord  need  be  apprehended." 

Mr.  Trumbull  said  :  "The  opinion  of  Judge  Curtis,  from  which 
the  Senator  read,  was  the  opinion  of  a  dissenting  judge,  entitled 
to  very  great  credit  on  account  of  the  learning  and  ability  of  that 
judge,  but  it  was  not  the  opinion  of  the  court,  and  an  examina- 
tion of  the  entire  opinion,  which  is  very  lengthy,  would  perhaps 
not  sustain  the  precise  principles  the  Senator  from  Maryland  laid 
down.  But,  sir,  I  have  another  authority  which  I  think  of  equal 
weight  with  that  of  Judge  Curtis— not  pronounced  in  a  judicial 


270  TEE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

tribunal  it  is  true,  but  by  one  of  the  most  eminent  members  of 
the  bar  in  this  nation;  I  may  say  by  a  gentleman  who  stands 
at  the  head  of  the  bar  in  America  at  this  time — an  opinion  pro- 
nounced, too,  in  the  exercise  of  official  duties;  and  I  propose  to 
read  a  few  sentences  from  that  opinion,  for  it  is  to  be  found  re- 
ported in  the  Congressional  Globe  containing  the  proceedings  of 
this  body  less  than  ninety  days  ago.     This  is  the  language: 

"  'While  they  [negroes]  were  slaves,  it  was  a  very  different  question;  but 
now,  when  slavery  is  terminated,  and  by  terminating  it  you  have  got  rid  of 
the  only  obstacle  in  the  way  of  citizenship,  two  questions  arise:  first, 
Whether  that  fact  itself  does  not  make  them  citizens?  Before  they  were 
not  citizens,  because  of  slavery,  and  only  because  of  slavery.  Slavery  abol- 
ished, why  are  they  not  just  as  much  citizens  as  they  would  have  been  had 
slavery  never  existed?  My  opinion  is  that  they  become  citizens,  and  I  hold 
that  opinion  so  strongly  that  I  should  consider  it  unnecessary  to  legislate 
on  the  subject  at  all,  as  far  as  that  class  is  concerned,  but  for  the  ruling  of 
the  Supreme  Court,  to  which  I  have  adverted.' 

"  Sir,  that  opinion  was  held  by  the  honorable  Senator  from  Ma- 
ryland who  made  this  speech  to-day.  He  holds  the  opinion  so 
strongly  now  that  slavery  is  abolished,  which  was  the  only  obsta- 
cle in  the  way  of  their  being  citizens,  that  he  would  want  no  legisla- 
tion on  the  subject  but  for  the  Dred  Scott  decision !  What  further 
did  the  Senator  from  Maryland  say  less  than  ninety  days  ago  ?  It  is 
possible,  doubtless — it  is  not  only  possible  but  it  is  certainly  true — 
that  the  Senator  from  Maryland,  by  reading  the  conclusive  argu- 
ments of  the  Veto  Message  in  regard  to  Chinese  and  Gypsies,  has 
discovered  that  he  was  in  error  ninety  days  ago.  I  by  no  means 
mean  to  impute  any  wrong  motive  to  the  Senator  from  Maryland, 
but  simply  to  ask  that  he  will  pardon  me  if  I  have  not  been  able 
to  see  the  conclusive  reasoning  of  the  Veto  Message." 

After  quoting  still  further  from  Mr.  Johnson's  speech,  made  on 
a  previous  occasion,  Mr.  Trumbull  said:  "But  as  I  am  up,  I  will 
refer  to  one  other  point  to  which  the  Senator  alluded,  and  that  is 
in  regard  to  the  quotation  which  I  made  yesterday  from  the  stat- 
ute of  1790.  I  quoted  that  statute  for  the  purpose  of  showing 
that  the  provisions  in  the  bill  under  consideration,  which  it  was 
insisted  allowed  the  punishment  of  ministerial  officers  and  judges 
who  should  act  in  obedience  to  State  laws  and  under  color  of  State 
laws,  were  not  anomalous.  I  read  a  statute  of  1790  to  show  that 
the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  at  that  day,  provided  for  pun- 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  271 

ishing  both  judges  and  officers  who  acted  under  color  of  State  law 
in  defiance  of  a  law  of  the  United  States.  How  does  the  Senator 
answer  that?  He  says  that  was  on  a  different  subject;  the  law 
of  1790  provided  for  punishing  judges  and  officers  who  did  an 
act  in  violation  of  the  international  law,  jurisdiction  over  which  is 
conferred  upon  the  nation.  Let  me  ask  the  Senator  from  Mary- 
land, if  the  bill  under  discussion  does  not  provide  for  the  punish- 
ment of  persons  who  violate  a  right  secured  by  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  ?  Is  a  right  which  a  citizen  holds  by  virtue 
of  the  Constitution  of  his  country  less  sacred  than  a  right  which 
he  holds  by  virtue  of  international  law  ?  " 

Mr.  Johnson  replied  as  follows:  "It  is  singular,  in  my  esti- 
mation, how  a  gentleman  with  a  mind  as  clear  as  Mr.  Trum- 
bull's, with  a  perspicacity  that  is  a  little  surprising,  could  have 
fallen  into  the  error  of  supposing  that  there  is  any  inconsistency 
between  the  doctrine  contained  in  the  speech  to  which  he  has  ad- 
verted and  the  one  which  I  have  mantained  to-day.  What  I 
said  then  I  say  now,  that  as  far  as  the  United  States  are  con- 
cerned, all  persons  born  within  the  limits  of  the  United  States  are 
to  be  considered  as  citizens,  and  that  without  reference  to  the  color 
or  the  race ;  and  after  the  abolition  of  slavery  the  negro  would 
stand  precisely  in  the  condition  of  the  white  man.  But  the  hon- 
orable member  can*  hardly  fail,  I  think — certainly  he  can  not 
when  I  call  his  attention  to  it — to  perceive  that  that  has  noth- 
ing to  do  with  the  question  now  before  the  Senate.  His  bill 
makes  them  citizens  of  the  United  States  because  of  birth,  and 
gives  them  certain  rights  within  the  States." 

Mr.  Fessenclen  asked:  "Were  not  your  remarks  made  on  this 
very  question  in  this  bill?" 

"  No,"  replied  Mr.  Johnson ;  "  on  another  bill."  He  continued : 
"  What  I  maintain  is  this — and  I  have  never  doubted  it,  because 
I  entertained  the  same  opinion  when  I  made  those  remarks  that 
I  entertain  now — that  citizenship  of  the  United  States,  in  conse- 
quence of  birth,  does  not  make  a  party  a  citizen  of  the  State  in 
which  he  is  born  unless  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  State 
recognize  him  as  a  citizen.  Now,  what  does  this  bill  propose? 
All  born  within  the  United  States  are  to  be  considered  citizens 
of  the  United  States,  and  as  such  shall  have  in  every  State  all 
the  rights  that  belong  to  any  body  else  in  the  State  as  far  as  the 
particular  subjects  stated  in  the  bul  are  concerned.     Now,  I  did 


272  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

suppose,  and  I  shall  continue  to  suppose,  it  to  be  clear,  unless  I 
am  met  with  the  almost  paramount  authority  of  the  Chairman  of 
the  Judiciary  Committee,  that  citizenship,  by  way  of  birth,  con- 
ferred on  the  party  as  far  as  he  and  the  United  States  were  con- 
cerned, is  not  a  citizenship  which  entitles  him  to  the  privilege  of 
citizenship  within  the  State  where  he  is  born;  if  it  be  true,  and 
I  submit  that  it  is  true  beyond  all  doubt,  that  over  the  question 
of  State  citizenship  the  authority  of  the  State  Government  is 
supreme. 

"  Now,  the  honorable  member  is  counfounding  the  status  of  a 
citizen  of  the  United  States  and  the  status  of  a  citizen  of  the 
United  States  who  as  such  is  a  citizen  of  the  State  of  his  resi- 
dence. Maintaining,  as  I  do,  that  there  is  no  authority  to  make 
any  body  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  so  as  to  convert  him 
thereby  into  a  citizen  of  a  State,  there  is  no  authority  in  the 
Constitution  for  this  particular  bill,  which  says  that  because  he 
is  a  citizen  of  the  United  States  he  is  to  be  considered  a  citizen 
of  any  State  in  which  he  may  be  at  any  time  with  reference  to 
the  rights  conferred  by  this  bill. 

Mr.  Trumbull  replied :  "  I  desire  simply  to  remark  that  the 
speech  from  which  I  quoted,  made  by  the  Senator  from  Maryland, 
was  made  upon  this  very  bill.  It  was  in  reference  to  this  bill 
that  he  was  speaking  when  he  laid  down  Hie  proposition  that 
every  person  born  in  the  United  States  since  the  abolition  of 
slavery  was  a  citizen  of  the  United  States,  and  if  there  was  any 
doubt  about  it,  it  was  proper  for  us  to  declare  them  so,  and  not 
only  proper,  but  our  duty  to  do  so ;  and  to  make  the  matter 
specific,  the  honorable  Senator  voted  for  this  proposition,  which 
I  will  now  read,  on  the  yeas  and  nays : 

"  'All  persons  born  in  the  United  States,  and  not  subject  to  any  foreign 
Power,  excluding  Indians  not  taxed,  are  hereby  declared  to  be  citizens  of 
the  United  States,  without  distinction  of  color.' 

"  Upon  the  adoption  of  that  proposition  as  an  amendment,  it 
not  being  in  the  bill  as  originally  introduced,  the  Senator  from 
Maryland,  with  thirty  others,  voted  in  the  affirmative.  So  we 
have  his  high  authority  for  saying  that  all  persons  born  in  the 
United  States,  and  not  subject  to  any  foreign  Power,  are  citizens 
of  the  United>  States,  exactly  as  it  appears  in  this  bill." 

"  Mr.  Yates,  of  Illinois,  remarked :   "  I  remember  very  well 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  273 

that  the  Senator  from  Maryland  offered  an  amendment  to  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  to  this  effect :  to  strike  out  the  words 
1  without  distinction  of  color.'  The  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  ap- 
plied legislation  by  Congress  to  the  freedmen  in  the  States  and 
to  the  condition  of  the  freedmen  in  the  States.  It  was  legislation 
that  affected  the  freedmen  in  the  rebellious  States.  If  I  remem- 
ber aright  the  Senator  from  Maryland  moved  to  strike  out  the 
words  '  without  distinction  of  color '  in  one  section  of  that  bill, 
and  for  that  motion  he  gave  this  reason  :  because,  under  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States,  as  amended,  abolishing  slavery  in 
all  the  States  and  Territories  of  the  United  States,  the  freedmen 
occupied  precisely  the  same  position  with  any  other  citizen  of  the 
United  States  in  any  State  or  Territory.  I  understood  him  as 
taking  the  broad  position,  which  I  have  maintained,  and  which 
Republican  Senators  have  maintained,  and  which  I  think  the 
country  maintains,  that  under  the  Constitution,  as  amended,  the 
freedman  occupies  precisely  the  same  position  as  any  man  born  in 
any  State  or  Territory  of  the  United  States;  and  that  was  the 
object,  if  I  understood  the  Senator  from  Maryland,  of  his  moving 
to  amend  the  Freedmen's  Bureau  Bill  by  striking  out  the  words 
i  without  distinction  of  color.'  . 

"I  recognize  the  authority  of  the  decisions  quoted  by  the 
Senator  from  Maryland  before  the  adoption  of  the  amendment  to 
the  Constitution.  The  States  had  the  power  over  the  question 
of  slavery  in  the  States  before  the  amendment  to  the  Constitu- 
tion; but  by  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution,  in  which  the 
States  have  concurred,  the  freedman  becomes  a  free  man,  entitled 
to  the  same  rights  and  privileges  as  any  other  citizen  of  the 
United  States." 

Mr.  Cowan,  of  Pennsylvania,  spoke  in  favor  of  the  veto,  pre- 
mising that  his  words,  "  if  they  are  not  to  convince  any  body  in 
the  Senate,  may  go  to  the  country  and  be  reflected  on  there." 
Mr.  Cowan  said  he  was  quite  willing  that  all  the  people  of  this 
country  should  enjoy  the  rights  conferred  upon  them  by  this  bill. 
But,  supposing  the  bill  had  all  the  merit  in  the  world,  it  would 
not  be  effective  to  attain  the  ends  hoped  for  by  its  friends ;  and 
apart  from  that,  its  provisions  were  exceedingly  dangerous.  It 
gave  married  women  and  minors  the  right  to  make  and  enforce 
contracts.  The  grammatical  structure  of  a  portion  of  the  bill 
was  such  as  to  enable  a  corrupt,  passionate,  or  prejudiced  judge 
18 


274  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

to  take  advantage  of  it  in  order  to  widen  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
United  States  courts,  and  drag  into  them  all  the  business  which 
had  heretofore  occupied  the  State  courts.  This  would  be  enough 
in  this  nineteenth  century  to  make  a  man  tremble  for  the  fate  of 
constitutional  government.  "  If,"  said  Mr.  Cowan,  "  we  had  un- 
doubted authority  to  pass  this  bill,  under  the  circumstances  I 
would  not  vote  for  it,  on  account  of  its  objectionable  phraseology, 
its  dubious  language,  and  the  mischief  which  might  attend  upon 
a  large  and  liberal  construction  of  it  in  the  District  and  Circuit 
Courts  of  the  United  States."  The  trouble  and  expense  of  ob- 
taining justice  in  the  United  States  courts,  but  one,  or  at  most 
two  existing  in  any  of  the  Southern  States,  would  debar  the 
African  from  applying  to  them  for  redress.  "Your  remedy," 
said  the  Senator,  "  is  delusive ;  your  remedy  is  no  remedy  at  all ; 
and  to  hold  it  up  to  the  world  as  a  remedy  is  a  gross  fraud,  how- 
ever pious  it  may  be.  It  is  no  remedy  to  the  poor  debtor  that 
you  prosecute  his  judge,  and  threaten  him  with  fine  and  im- 
prisonment. It  is  no  remedy  to  the  poor  man  with  a  small  claim 
that  you  locate  a  court  one  or  two  hundred  miles  away  from  him 
which  is  so  expensive  in  its  administration  of  justice  that  he  can 
not  enter  there. 

"  There  is  another  provision  of  the  bill,  which,  notwithstand- 
ing the  act  of  Congress  relied  upon  by  the  honorable  Senator 
from  Illinois,  I  think  is  unquestionably  anomalous,  and  to  me 
not  only  anomalous,  but  atrocious;  and  that  is,  the  substitution 
of  an  indictment  for  the  writ  of  error.  "What  has  been  the  law 
of  these  United  States  heretofore?  When  an  act  of  Congress 
came  in  contact  with  a  State  law,  and  the  judge  of  a  State  court 
decided  that  the  law  of  Congress  was  unconstitutional,  there  was 
an  appeal  given  to  the  defeated  party  to  the  Supreme  Court  of 
the  United  States  in  order  to  determine  the  constitutionality  of 
the  law.  But,  sir,  who,  until  the  last  few  months,  ever  heard  of 
making  the  judge  a  criminal  because  he  decided  against  the  con- 
stitutionality of  a  law  of  the  United  States  ?  One  would  think 
we  were  being  transported  back  to  the  dark  ages  of  the  world 
when  a  man  is  to  be  accused  and  perhaps  convicted  of  a  crime 
who  has  done  nothing  more  than  honestly  and  conscientiously 
discharged  his  duty.  I  know  that  the  persons  of  embassadors  are 
sacred,  and  I  know  that  it  is  a  very  high  offense  against  the  law 
of  nations,  which  no  civil  judge  of  any  court  could  justify,  to  in- 


8!)  jm. 


WM    M    STEWART 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  275 

vade  this  sacred  right  of  the  embassador,  but  every  body  knows 
that  that  is  an  exceptional  case.  Every  body  knows  that  in 
all  times  and  at  all  ages  the  judge  was  punishable  who  did 
not  respect  the  person  of  an  embassador.  But  that  is  not  this 
case.  That  analogy  will  not  help  the  third  section  of  this  bill. 
It  is  openly  avowed  upon  the  floor  of  the  Senate  of  the  United 
States,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  1866,  in  the  full  blaze  and  light 
of  the  nineteenth  century,  that  the  indictment  is  to  be  a  substi- 
tute for  the  writ  of  error,  and  it  is  justified  because  a  judge  ought 
to  be  indicted  who  violates  the  sacred  person  of  an  embassador ! 
What  potency  there  must  be  in  the  recent  amendment  of  the  Con- 
stitution which  has  foisted  the  negEO  and  set  him  upon  the  same 
platform  as  the  envoy  extraordinary  and  minister  plenipotentiary 
of  Great  Britain  or  of  all  the  Russias  to  the  United  States  of 
America,  and  made  him  as  sacred  as  an  embassador,  and  the  judge 
who  decides  against  him  is  to  be  punished  as  a  criminal ! " 

Mr.  Stewart  showed  that  States  might  easily  avoid  all  the  an- 
noying operations  of  this  bill  which  were  feared  by  its  opponents : 
'•  When  I  reflect  how  very  easy  it  is  for  the  States  to  avoid  the 
operation  of  this  bill,  how  very  little  they  have  to  do  to  avoid  the 
operation  of  the  bill  entirely,  I  think  that  it  is  robbed  of  its  co- 
ercive features,  and  I  think  no  one  has  any  reason  to  complain 
because  Congress  has  exercised  a  power,  which  it  must  be  con- 
ceded it  has,  when  it  has  exercised  it  in  a  manner  which  leaves 
it  so  easy  for  the  States  to  avoid  the  operation  of  this  bill.  If 
passed  to-day,  it  has  no  operation  in  the  State  of  Georgia;  it  is 
impossible  to  commit  a  crime  under  this  bill  in  the  State  of 
Georgia;  and  the  other  States  can  place  themselves  in  the  same 
position  so  easily  that  I  do  not  believe  they  ought  to  complain." 

He  then  read  the  second  section  of  an  act  passed  in  Georgia, 
precisely  similar  to  the  first  section  of  the  Civil  Rights  Bill. 
Nothing  could  be  done  in  Georgia  under  "color  of  law,"  which 
would  subject*  officers  to  the  penalties  provided  by  the  Civil 
Rights  Bill.  "  It  being  so  easily  avoided  by  being  complied  with, 
by  doing  a  simple  act  of  justice,  by  carrying  out  the  spirit  of  the 
constitutional  amendment,  I  can  not  give  my  consent  to  defeat 
a  bill  the  purpose  of  which  is  good,  the  operation  of  which  is  so 
innocent,  and  may  be  so  easily  avoided." 

The  Republican  Senators  were  desirous  of  bringing  the  bill  to 
a  final  vote  on  this  evening,  but  on  account  of  the  illness  of 


276  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Senator  Wright,  of  New  Jersey,  it  was  proposed  by  Democratic 
members  to  appoint  some  hour  on  the  following  day  when  the 
vote  should  be  taken  in  order  that  they  might  have  a  full  vote. 

Mr.  Wade,  of  Ohio,  said :  "  If  this  was  a  question  in  the  ordi- 
nary course  of  legislation,  I  certainly  would  not  object  to  the 
jiroposition  which  the  gentlemen  on  the  other  side  make ;  but  I 
view  it  as  one  of  the  greatest  and  most  fundamental  questions 
that  has  ever  come  before  this  body  for  settlement,  and  I  look 
upon  it  as  having  bearings  altogether  beyond  the  question  on  this 
bill.  The  bill  is,  undoubtedly,  a  very  good  one.  There  is  no 
constitutional  objection  to  it;  there  has  been  no  objection  to  it 
raised  that  creates  a  doubt  in  the  mind  of  any  mortal  man ;  but, 
nevertheless,  we  are  at  issue  with  the  President  of  the  United  States 
upon  a  question  peculiarly  our  own.  The  President  of  the  United 
States  has  no  more  power  under  the  Constitution  to  interpose  his 
authority  here,  to  prescribe  the  principle  upon  which  these  States 
should  be  admitted  to  this  Union,  than  any  man  of  this  body  has 
out  of  it.  The  Constitution  makes  him  the  executive  of  the  laws 
that  we  make,  and  there  it  leaves  him ;  and  what  is  our  condition  ? 
We  who  are  to  judge  of  the  forms  of  government  under  which 
States  shall  exist;  we,  who  are  the  only  power  that  is  charged 
with  this  great  question,  are  to  be  somehow  or  other  wheedled 
out  of  it  by  the  President  by  reason  of  the  authority  that  he 
sets  up. 

"  Sir,  we  can  not  abandon  it  unless  we  yield  to  a  principle  that 
will  unhinge  and  unsettle  the  balances  of  the  Constitution  itself. 
If  the  President  of  the  United  States  can  interjwse  his  authority 
upon  a  question  of  this  character,  and  can  compel  Congress  to 
succumb  to  his  dictation,  he  is  an  emperor,  a  despot,  and  not  a 
President  of  the  United  States.  Because  I  believe  the  great 
question  of  congressional  power  and  authority  is  at  stake  here, 
I  yield  to  no  importunities  of  the  other  side.  I  feel  myself  justi- 
fied in  taking  every  advantage  which  the  Almighty  has  put  into 
my  hands  to  defend  the  power  and  authority  of  this  body,  of 
which  I  claim  to  be  a  part.  I  will  not  yield  to  these  appeals  of 
comity  on  a  question  like  this ;  but  I  will  tell  the  President  and 
every  body  else  that,  if  God  Almighty  has  striken  one  member 
so  that  he  can  not  be  here  to  uphold  the  dictation  of  a  despot,  I 
thank  him  for  his  interposition,  and  I  will  take  advantage  of  it 
if  I  can." 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  277 

Mr.  McDougall,  of  California,  replied  to  Mr.  Wade.  This 
wayward  Senator  from  California  has  wide  notoriety  from  his 
unhappy  habits  of  intemperance.  He  has  been  described  by  a 
writer  unfriendly  to  his  politics  as  "  the  most  brilliant  man  in  the 
Senate ;  a  man  so  wonderfully  rich,  that  though  he  seeks  to  beggar 
himself  in  talents  and  opportunities,  he  has  left  a  patrimony  large 
enough  to  outdazzle  most  of  his  colleagues."  He  frequently  would 
enter  the  Senate-chamber  in  a  condition  of  apparent  stupor,  un- 
able to  walk  straight ;  and  after  listening  a  few  moments  to  what 
was  going  on,  has  arisen  and  spoken  upon  the  pending  question 
in  words  of  great  beauty  and  force. 

On  this  occasion  Mr.  McDougall  is  described  as  having  been 
in  a  worse  condition  than  usual.  His  words  were  muttered 
rather  than  spoken,  so  that  only  those  immediately  about  him 
could  hear;  and  yet  his  remarks  were  termed  by  one  of  his  au- 
ditors as  "  one  of  the  neatest  little  speeches  ever  heard  in  the 
Senate."  His  remarks  were  as  follows :  "  The  Senator  from  Ohio 
is  in  the  habit  of  appealing  to  his  God  in  vindication  of  his  judg- 
ment and  conduct;  it  is  a  common  thing  for  him  to  do  so;  but 
in  view  of  the  present  demonstration,  it  may  well  be  asked  who 
and  what  is  his  God.  In  the  old  Persian  mythology  there  was 
an  Ormudz  and  an  Ahriman— a  god  of  light  and  beauty,  and  a 
god  of  darkness  and  death.  The  god  of  light  sent  the  sun  to 
shine,  and  gentle  showers  to  fructify  the  fields;  the  god  of  dark- 
ness sent  the  tornado,  and  the  tempest,  and  the  thunder,  scathing 
with  pestilence  the  nations.  And  in  old  Chaldean  times  men 
came  to  worship  Ahriman,  the  god  of  darkness,  the  god  of  pesti- 
lence and  famine ;  and  his  priests  became  multitudinous ;  they 
swarmed  the  land;  and  when  men  prayed  then  their  offerings 
were,  'We  will  not  sow  a  field  of  grain,  we  will  not  dig  a  well, 
we  will  not  plant  a  tree.'  These  were  the  offerings  to  the  dark 
spirit  of  evil,  until  a  prophet  came  who  redeemed  that  ancient 
land;  but  he  did  it  after  crucifixion,  like  our  great  Master. 

"  The  followers  of  Ahriman  always  appealed  to  the  same  spirit 
manifested  by  the  Senator  from  Ohio.  Death  is  to  be  one  of  his 
angels  now  to  redeem  the  Constitution  and  the  laws,  and  to  estab- 
lish liberty.  Sickness,  suffering,  evil,  are  to  be  his  angels ;  and  he 
thanks  the  Almighty,  his  Almighty,  that  sickness,  danger,  and 
evil  are  about !  It  may  be  a  good  god  for  him  in  this  world ;  but 
if  there  is  any  truth  in  what  we  learn  about  the  orders  of  religion 


278  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

in  this  Christian  world,  his  faith  will  not  help  him  when  he  shall 
ascend  up  and  ask  entrance  at  the  crystal  doors.  If  there  can  be 
evil  expressed  in  high  places  that  communicates  evil  thoughts,  that 
communicates  evil  teachings,  that  demoralizes  the  youth,  who  re- 
ceive impressions  as  does  the  wax,  it  is  by  such  lessons  as  the 
Senator  from  Ohio  now  teaches  by  word  of  mouth  as  Senator  in 
this  Senate  hall. 

"  Sir,  the  President  of  the  United  States  is  a  constitutional  offi- 
cer, clothed  with  high  power,  and  clothed  with  the  very  power 
which  he  has  exercised  in  this  instance ;  and  those  who  conferred 
upon  him  these  powers  were  men  such  as  Madison,  and  Jay,  and 
Hamilton,  and  Morris,  and  Washington,  and  a  host  of  worthies ; 
men  who,  I  think,  knew  as  much  about  the  laws  of  government, 
and  how  they  should  be  rightly  balanced,  as  any  of  the  wisest  who 
now  sit  here  in  council.  It  is  the  duty  of  the  President  of  the 
United  States  to  stand  as  defender  of  the  Constitution  in  his  place 
as  the  conservator  of  the  rights  of  the  people,  as  tribune  of  the 
people,  as  it  was  in  old  Rome  when  the  people  did  choose  their 
tribunes  to  go  into  the  senate-chamber  among  the  aristocracy  of 
Rome,  and  when  they  passed  laws  injurious  to  the  Roman  people, 
to  stand  and  say,  '  I  forbid  it.' 

"  That  is  the  veto  power,  incorporated  wisely  by  our  fathers  in 
the  Constitution,  conferred  upon  the  President  of  the  United 
States,  and  to  be  treated  with  consideration ;  and  no  appeal  of  the 
Senator  to  his  God  can  change  the  Constitution  or  the  rights  of 
the  President  of  the  United  States,  or  can  prevent  a  just  consid- 
eration of  the  dignity  of  this  Senate  body  by  persons  who  have 
just  consideration,  who  feel  that  they  are  Senators. 

"  It  is  a  strange  thing,  an  exceedingly  strange  thing,  that  when 
a  few  Senators  in  the  city  of  Washington,  ill  at  their  houses,  give 
assurance  that  they  can  be  here  to  act  upon  a  great  public  question 
on  the  day  following  this,  we  should  hear  a  piece  of  declamation, 
the  Senator  appealing  to  his  God,  and  saying,  with  an  Io  triumphe 
air,  '  Well  or  ill,  God  has  made  them  ill.'  Sir,  the  god  of  deso- 
lation, the  god  of  darkness,  the  god  of  evil  is  his  god.  I  never 
expected  to  hear  such  objections  raised  among  honorable  men; 
and  men  to  be  Senators  should  be  honorable  men.  I  never  ex- 
pected to  hear  such  things  in  this  hall ;  and  I  rose  simply  to  say 
that  such  sentiments  were  to  be  condemned,  and  must  receive  my 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  279 

condemnation,  now  and  here ;   and  if  it  amounts  to  a  rebuke,  I 
trust  it  may  be  a  rebuke." 

The  Senate  adjourned,  with  the  understanding  that  the  vote 
should  be  taken  on  the  following  day.  In  the  morning  hour  on 
that  day,  as  the  States  were  called  for  the  purpose  of  giving  Sen- 
ators an  opportunity  of  introducing  petitions  or  resolutions,  Mr. 
Lane,  of  Kansas,  presented  a  joint  resolution  providing  for  ad- 
mitting Senators  and  Representatives  from  the  States  lately  in 
insurrection.  This  bill,  emanating  from  a  Republican  Senator, 
who  professed  to  have  framed  it  as  an  embodiment  of  the  Presi- 
dent's policy,  was  evidently  designed  to  have  an  influence  upon 
the  action  of  the  Senate  upon  the  Civil  Rights  Bill.  It  proposed 
that  Senators  and  Representatives  from  the  late  rebellious  States 
should  be  admitted  into  Congress  whenever  it  should  appear  that 
they  had  annulled  their  ordinances  of  secession,  ratified  the  con- 
stitutional amendment  abolishing  slavery,  repudiated  all  rebel 
debts,  recognized  the  debts  of  the  United  States,  and  extended 
the  elective  franchise  to  all  male  persons  of  color  residing  in  the 
State,  over  twenty-one  years  of  age,  who  can  read  and  write,  and 
who  own  real  estate  valued  at  not  less  than  two  hundred  and 
fifty  dollars. 

As  a  reason  for  introducing  this  measure,  Mr.  Lane,  of  Kansas, 
remarked :  "  I  have  been  laboring  for  months  to  harmonize  the 
President  of  the  United  States  with  the  majority  on  the  floor  of 
Congress.  I  thought  yesterday  that  there  was  a  hope  of  securing 
such  a  result.  It  did  seem  that  some  of  the  members  of  this  body 
were  disposed  to  harmonize  with  the  President.  I  proposed  to 
go  very  far  yesterday  to  secure  that  harmony.  But  while  pur- 
suing this  course,  we  were  awakened  by  one  of  the  most  vindic- 
tive assaults  ever  made  upon  any  official,  by  either  friend  or  oppo- 
nent, from  the  Senator  from  Ohio  [Mr.  Wade]— an  assault  upon 
my  personal  friend,  a  man  who  for  two  years  sat  side  by  side  with 
me  here,  whom  I  learned  to  respect  and  admire  for  his  pluck,  his 
ability,  and  integrity,  and  to  love  for  his  manly  virtues ;  a  man 
whom  I  originally  selected  as  the  candidate  of  the  Republican 
party  for  the  second  office  within  the  gift  of  that  party ;  a  man 
whom  I  urged  en  the  Republican  convention  at  Baltimore  as  their 
candidate ;  a  man  whose  election  I  did  my  utmost  to  secure  against 
the  efforts  of  the  Senator  from  Ohio.  In  the  most  critical  moment 
of  that  political  campaign,  an  assault  was  made  on  our  presi- 


A 


280  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

dential  candidate  in  the  same  spirit  evinced  by  him  yesterday  in 
his  attack  upon  the  President.  I  defended  the  candidate  of  the 
Republican  party  against  that  assault,  and  I  defend  the  President 
of  the  Republican  party  against  the  assault  of  yesterday. 

" ' A  despot V  'A.  dictator ! '  In  what ?  In  seeking  to  re- 
construct the  rebellious  States  in  violation  of  the  wishes  of  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States?  When  Mr.  Johnson  took  his 
seat  in  the  presidential  chair,  I  ask  you,  sir,  what  had  Congress 
done  ?  The  people  of  the  United  States  had  done  this :  Mr.  Lin- 
coln had  marked  out  the  policy  of  reconstruction,  since  adopted 
by  Mr.  Johnson,  and  the  people  of  the  United  States,  the  party 
to  which  the  Senator  from  Ohio  and  myself  belong,  indorsed  by 
triumphant  majorities  that  very  reconstruction  policy.  A  despot 
for  proposing,  in  violation  of  the  wishes  of  the  Congress  of  the 
United  States,  to  reconstruct  the  insurrectionary  States  upon  the 
theory  expressed  in  that  joint  resolution  annulling  the  ordinances 
of  secession,  ratifying  the  amendment  to  the  Constitution  abolish- 
ing slavery,  repudiating  the  Confederate  debt,  indorsing  the  na- 
tional debt,  and  extending  suffrage  to  all  colored  men  who  can 
read  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  and  sign  their  names, 
and  to  all  colored  men  owning  and  paying  taxes  upon  §250  worth 
of  property ! 

"  Mr.  President,  I  am  not  as  conversant  with  the  constituency 
of  the  Senator  from  Ohio  as  he  is,  but  I  venture  the  assertion 
that  outside  of  New  England  there  is  not  a  single  Northern  State 
in  this  Union  but  will  by  a  majority  vote  to  indorse  the  policy 
of  reconstruction  advised  by  President  Johnson  and  expressed  in 
that  joint  resolution.  You  can  not  carry  before  the  people  of  this 
country  suffrage  to  the  unqualified  black  man.  You  can  not  find 
a  State  in  this  Union  outside  of  New  England,  in  my  judgment, 
that  will  indorse  that  policy.  Restrict  it  to  a  qualification  clause, 
as  the  President  of  the  United  States  recommends,  and  you  can 
carry  the  Republican  Union  party  every-where,  and  with  una- 
nimity. 

"  The  President  of  the  United  States  '  a  despot '  for  exercising 
a  constitutional  right  in  vetoing  a  bill  passed  by  Congress !  Mr. 
President,  had  the  Senator  from  Ohio  occupied  the  position  which 
is  occupied  by  President  Johnson,  in  my  judgment,  he  would  have 
vetoed  the  Civil  Rights  Bill.  '  A  despot ! '  "What  is  the  exercise 
of  the  veto  power?     It  amounts  merely  to  a  vote  to  reconsider, 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  281 

with  the  lights  given  in  his  reasons  for  the  veto.  When  before 
has  the  exercise  of  a  constitutional  right  justified  a  political  friend 
of  the  President  of  the  United  States  in  denouncing  that  Presi- 
dent as  a  despot  and  a  dictator  ?  He  has  been  and  is  now,  in  my 
judgment,  as  anxious  to  harmonize  the  difficulties  in  the  Union 
party  as  any  Senator  upon  this  floor.  If  he  was  met  in  the  same 
spirit,  that  party  would  be  reunited  and  this  Union  would  be  re- 
stored. His  advances  are  met  by  insult;  his  advances  are  met  by 
denunciation  from  the  leader  of  the  Republican  party  upon  this 
floor  in  language  without  a  parallel.  Mrfrresident,  so  far  as  I 
am  concerned,  I  propose  to-day  and  hereafter  to  take  my  position 
alongside  the  Bresident  of  the  Republican  party,  and  stand  there 
unflinchingly  so  long  as  he  remains  faithful  to  the  principles  of 
that  parry,  defending  him  against  the  Senator  from  Ohio  as  I  de- 
fended his  predecessor  against  the  same  Senator." 

Mr.  Lane  then  expressed  his  desire  that  his  proposition  should 
lie  upon  the  table  and  be  printed.     An  order  having  been  entered 
to  that  effect,  Mr.  Wade  addressed  the  Senate.     He  remarked: 
"It  is  said   I  made  an  attack  on  the  President  of  the  United 
States.     As  a  Senator  upon  this  floor,  I  care  no  more  about  the 
opinions  of  the  President  of  the  United  States  than  I  do  about 
those  of  any  respectable  Senator  upon  this  floor,  or  any  Senator 
on  this  floor.     Who  is  your  President,  that  every  man  must  bow 
to  his  opinion?     Why,  sir,  we  all  know  him;  he  is  no  stranger 
to  this  body.     We  have  measured  him ;  we  know  his  height,  his 
depth,  his  length,  his  breadth,  his  capacity,  and  all  about  him. 
Do  you  set  him  up  as  a  paragon  and  declare  here  on  the  floor 
of  this  Senate  that  you  are  going  to  make  us  all  bow  down  before 
him?     Is  that  the  idea?    You  [to  Mr.  Lane,  of  Kansas,]  are 
going  to  be  his  apologist  and  defender  in  whatever  he  may  propose 
to  do!     Is  that  the  understanding  of  the  Senator  from  Kansas? 
"  I  do  not  believe  that  his  constituents  will  be  quite  satisfied 
with  so  broad  a  declaration,  that  he  is  to  wear  any  man's  collar, 
and  follow  him  wherever  he  may  go.     Did  I  use  harsh  language 
toward  the  Presfdent  yesterday?     All  that  I  said  I  stand  by  to- 
day and  forever.     What  was  the  question  upon  which  I  made 
those  observations,  and  what  has  been  the  opinion  of  the  President 
heretofore?  what  has  been  his  action  since ?     Here  are  three  mill- 
ion people,  our  friends,  friends  to  the  Government,  who  generously 
came  forward  in  its  difficulty,  and  helped  us  throughout  the  war, 


282  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

sacrificed  their  blood  and  their  lives  to  maintain  the  issue  on  our 
side,  and  who  were  faithful  beyond  all  men  that  were  ever  faith- 
ful before,  to  us  during,  the  whole  of  the  difficulty,  every-where 
assisting  our  brave  soldiers  in  the  field,  laying  down  their  lives 
to  maintain  our  principles,  and  ministering  in  every  way  to  the 
misfortunes  of  our  brave  men  whenever  they  fell  into  the  hands 
of  those  worse  than  savages  with  whom  we  were  warring;  and 
now  these  men  are  laboring,  are  under  one  of  the  most  frightful 
despotisms  that  ever^ettled  down  upon  the  heads  of  mankind. 
Three  million  people^re  exposed  to  the  outrages,  the  insolence, 
the  murder  of  those  worse  than  savages,  their  former  masters, 
murdered  as  we  hear  every  day,  oppressed  evoty-where,  their 
rights  taken  away,  their  manhood  trampled  under  foot ;  and  Con- 
gress, under  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  endeavors  to 
extend  to  them  some  little  protection,  and  how  are  we  met  here? 
Every  attempt  of  your  Moses  has  been  to  trample  them  down 
worse,  and  to  throw  every  obstruction  in  the  way  of  any  relief 
that  could  be  proposed  by  Congress.  He  has  from  all  ajjpear- 
ances  become  their  inveterate  and  relentless  foe,  making  violent 
war  upon  any  member  of  Congress  who  dares  raise  his  voice  or 
give  his  vote  in  favor  of  any  measure  having  for  its  object  the 
amelioration  of  the  condition  of  these  poor  people.  Talk  to  me 
about  the  President  being  their  friend !  When  did  it  ever  hap- 
pen before  that  a  great  measure  of  relief  to  suffering  humanity  on 
as  broad  a  scale  as  this  was  met  by  the  stern  veto  of  the  President 
of  the  United  States,  and  without  being  able  when  he  undertakes 
to  make  his  obstruction  to  our  measures  to  designate  a  single 
clause  of  the  Constitution  that  he  pretends  has  been  violated. 

"Yesterday  what  was  the  issue?  I  was  charged  with  great 
cruelty  on  this  floor,  because  I  was  unwilling  to  wait  for  recruits 
to  be  brought  in  here  for  the  purpose  of  overthrowing  the  ground 
we  had  taken  upon  this  important  question  whether  these  poor 
people  shall  have  relief  or  not.  Now,  I  wish  to  say  that  I  am 
willing  to  extend  courtesy  to  our  old  associates  on  this  floor  un- 
der other  circumstances ;  but  when  you  extend  fliis  kind  of  cour- 
tesy to  them,  the  result  is  death  and  destruction  to  three  million 
people,  trampled  under  the  feet  of  their  former  masters.  My 
courtesy  is  extended  to  those  poor  men,  and  I  would  not  wait  a 
moment  that  their  enemies  may  be  brought  in  here  in  order  to 
prevent  our  doing  any  thing  for  their  relief,  joining  with  the 


CIVIL  BIGHTS  BILL.  283 

President,  who  is  determined,  if  we  may  judge  by  his  acts,  that 
no  measure  having  for  its  object  any  relief  shall  be  extended  to 
them. 

"Did  you  hear  the  fact  stated  here  the  other  day,  that  bills 
were  drawn  with  a  view  to  escape  the  anathemas  of  your  Presi- 
dent, and  were  exhibited  to  him,  and  he  asked  'if  he  had  any 
objection  to  them  to  look  them  over  well,  because  if  we  can,  con- 
sistent with  the  object  aimed  at,  make  them  clear  of  any  objection 
you  may  have,  we  will  do  it  ? ' 

"  I  said,  sir,  that  he  seemed  to  have  meditated  a  controversy 
with  Congress  from  the  beginning,  and  he  has.  He  has  treated 
our  majorities  as  hostile  to  the  people;  two  thirds  of  both  branches 
of  Congress  have  been  treated  by  him  as  mere  factionists,  dis- 
unionists,  enemies  to  the  country,  bent  upon  its  destruction,  bar- 
gaining with  the  enemy  to  destroy  the  Government.  This  is  the 
way  the  President  has  tr«ated  Congress,  and  every  bill  they  have 
passed,  which  promised  any  relief  to  the  men  whom  we  are  bound 
to  protect,  has  been  trampled  under  the  Executive  heel ;  and  even 
when  members  of  this  body  did  what  I  say  they  ought  not  to 
have  done — for  I  do  not  approve  of  my  brother  Trumbull's  go- 
ing up  to  the  President,  when  he  has  a  measure  pending  here  as 
a  Senator,  to  ask  the  President,  in  the  first  place,  whether  he  will 
approve  of  it  or  not ;  even  when  he  was  asked  if  he  objected  to 
this  measure,  and  made  no  objection,  he  still  undertakes  to  veto  it. 

"  If  Congress  should  recede  from  the  position  they  have  taken 
to  claim  jurisdiction  over  this  great  question  of  readmitting  these 
States,  from  that  hour  they  surrender  all  the  power  that  the  Con- 
stitution places  in  their  hands  and  that  they  were  sworn  to  sup- 
port, and  they  are  the  mere  slaves  of  an  accidental  Executive ;  of 
a  man  who  formerly  associated  with  us  upon  this  floor ;  who  was 
no  more  infallible  than  the  rest  of  us  poor  mortals ;  and  yet  the 
moment,  by  death  or  accident,  he  is  placed  in  the  executive  chair, 
it  would  seem  as  if  some  Senators  believed  him  to  be  endowed 
with  superhuman  wisdcmi,  and  ought  to  be  invested  with  all  the 
powers  of  this  Government ;  that  Congress  ought  to  get  on  their 
knees  before  him,  and  take  his  insults  and  his  dictation  without 
resentment  and  without  even  an  attempt  to  resist.  Some  States 
may  send  such  instrumentalities  here,  but  God  knows  some  will 
not ;  and  I  pity  those  that  do,  for  they  would  hold  their  freedom 
on  a  very  uncertain!  tenure. 


284  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

"  Some  gentlemen  may  be  patient  under  the  charge  of  treason, 
perhaps  the  more  so  because  treason  is  becoming  popular  in  this 
day ;  but,  sir,  I  am  a  little  too  old-fashioned  to  be  charged  by  the 
executive  branch  of  this  Government  as  a  traitor  on  the  floor  of 
Congress,  and  not  resent  it.  I  do  not  care  whether  he  be  King 
or  President  that  insinuates  that  I  am  a  disunionist  or  traitor, 
standing  upon  the  same  infamous  platform  with  the  traitors  of 
the  South ;  I  will  not  take  it  from  any  mortal  man,  high  or  low, 
without  repelling  the  charge.  If  any  man  here  is  tame  enough 
to  do  it,  he  is  too  tame  to  be  the  Senator  of  a  proud-spirited 
people,  conscious  of  their  own  freedom.  I  claim  to  be  their  re- 
presentative, and  they  will  censure  me  if  they  do  not  like  my 
doctrine. 

"And  now,  Mr.  President,  I  wish  to  make  an  appeal  to  those 
great,  patriotic  statesmen  on  this  floor,  who,  by  their  love  of  prin- 
ciple, by  their  unswerving  honesty,  u«cduced  by  the  blandish- 
ments of  executive  power,  unawed  by  threats  of  violence,  stand 
here  to  defend  the  rights  of  the  people  upon  this  floor,  and  will 
stand  here  forever.  I  say  to  you  Senators,  we,  the  majority  who 
are  stigmatized  as  traitors,  are  the  only  barrier  to-day  between 
this  nation  and  anarchy  and  despotism.  If  we  give  way,  the 
hope  of  this  nation  is  lost  by  the  recreancy — yea,  sir,  I  will  say 
the  treachery — of  a  man  who  betrayed  our  confidence,  got  into 
power,  and  has  gone  into  the  camp  of  the  enemy,  and  joined 
those  who  never  breathed  a  breath  of  principle  in  common  with 
us." 

Mr.  Lane  replied :  "  I  stated  that  the  party  to  which  I  belong 
nominated  the  present  President  of  the  United  States  and  elected 
him,  and  that  as  long  as  he  fought  within  our  lines  and  remained 
in  our  party,  I  would  endeavor  to  defend  him  upon  this  floor 
against  all  unjust  assaults.  After  making  that  statement,  the 
Senator  from  Ohio,  forgetting  the  position  he  occupies,  has  sug- 
gested that  I  have  taken  upon  myself  the  collar  of  the  President 
of  the  United  States.  I  hurl  the  suggestion  in  the  teeth  of  the 
Senator  from  Ohio  as  unworthy  a  Senator.  I  wear  a  collar !  The 
pro-slavery  party  of  the  United  States,  backed  by  a  Democratic 
Administration,  sustained  and  supported  by  the  army  of  the 
United  States,  could  not  fasten  a  collar  upon  the  handful  of 
Kansas  squatters  of  whom  I  had  the  honor  to  be  the  leader. 
The  gallant  fight  made  in  this  Senate-chamber  by  the  Senator 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  285 

from  Ohio,  aided  by  the  Senators  from  Massachusetts  and  other 
Senators,  would  have  been  of  but  little  avail  had  it  not  been 
for  that  other  fight  that  was  made  upon  the  prairies  of  Kansas 
under  the  lead  of  your  humble  speaker.  I  wear  a  collar !  In- 
dicted for  treason  by  a  pro-slavery  grand-jury,  hunted  from  State 
to  State  by  a  writ  founded  upon  that  indictment  for  treason,  and 
§100,000  offered  for  my  head !  Jim  Lane  wear  a  collar!  Wher- 
ever he  is  known,  that  charge  will  be  denounced  as  false  by  both 
friends  and  enemies." 

Mr.  Brown,  of  Missouri,  made  a  short  speech,  in  which  he  set 
forth  the  position  of  Mr.  Lane,  of  Kansas,  on  questions  previ- 
ously before  the  Senate,  showing  their  inconsistency  with  some 
of  his  recent  remarks. 

Mr.  Doolittle  next  delivered  a  speech,  in  the  course  of  which 
he  called  attention  to  a  bill  which  he  had  drawn  "  to  provide  ap- 
propriate legislation  to  enforce  article  thirteen  of  the  Amendments 
to  the  Constitution,  abolishing  slavery  in  the  United  States." 
His  object  in  presenting  this  bill  was  to  "avoid  the  objections 
raised  by  men  not  only  in  this  body,  but  in  the  other  house,  and 
the  objections  raised  by  the  President  of  the  United  States,  to 
tlir  Will  now  pending. 

He  endeavored  to  explain  his  position  and  changes  of  opinion 
upon  the  Civil  Eights :  "  While  this  measure  was  upon  its  pass- 
age, I  took  no  part  in  its  discussion  except  upon  a  single  point 
in  relation  to  the  Indian  tribes.  The  bill  passed,  and  the  final 
vote  was  taken  when  I  was  not  present  in  the  Senate ;  but  it  was 
not  under  such  circumstances  that,  had  I  been*  here,  I  should  not 
have  voted  for  the  bill.  I  have  no  doubt  that  if  I  had  been 
present  I  should  have  voted  for  it.  My  attention  was  not  drawn 
very  earnestly  to  the  consideration  of  all  the  provisions  of  this  bill 
until  the  bill  had  passed  from  Senate  and  had  gone  to  the  House 
of  Representatives,  when  the  speeches  of  Mr.  Bingham,  of  Ohio, 
and  of  Mr.  Delano,  of  Ohio,  both  able  and  distinguished  lawyers 
of  that  State,  arrested  my  attention  and  called  me  very  carefully 
to  the  consideration  of  the  great  questions  which  are  involved  in 
the  bill.  The  bill  was  passed  by  the  House  of  Representatives; 
it  went  to  the  President.  From  the  fact  that  it  was  not  signed 
and  returned  to  this  body  at  once,  and  from  all  I  heard,  I  be- 
came satisfied  that,  at  least,  if  the  bill  was  not  to  be  returned 

19 


286  TEE  TEIRTT-jYIjYTE  CONGRESS. 

with  objections,  it  was  being  withheld  for  most  earnest  and  seri- 
ous consideration  by  the  Executive. 

"  Then,  Mr.  President,  it  was,  in  view  of  all  that  had  occurred, 
what  had  been  said  by  gentlemen  in  whom  I  had  the  utmost — I 
may  say  unbounded — confidence,  that  I  began  to  look  into  this 
measure  and  to  study  it  for  myself.  It  is  not  my  purpose  now 
to  go  into  a  discussion  of  the  provisions  of  this  bill  any  further 
than  to  say  that  there  are  provisions  in  it  upon  which  the  judg- 
ments of  the  best  patriots,  the  best  jurists,  the  most  earnest  men 
disagree.  There  are  men,  in  whom  I  have  entire  confidence,  who 
maintain  that  all  its  provisions  are  within  the  purview  of  the 
Constitution;  there  are  others  in  whom  I  have  confidence,  and 
equal  confidence,  who  maintain  directly  the  contrary;  and  this 
has  brought  me  seriously  to  consider  whether  there  be  no  com- 
mon ground  upon  which  friends  can  stand  and  stand  together. 
Sir,  I  may  have  failed  to  find  it ;  but  if  I  have,  it  is  not  because 
I  have  not  most  earnestly  sought  for  it  with  some  days  of  study 
and  most  earnest  reflection.  I  have  endeavored  to  put  upon 
paper  what  I  believe  would  carry  this  constitutional  provision 
into  effect  and  yet  would  be  a  common  ground  on  which  we  could 
unite  without  violating  the  conscientious  convictions  of  any." 

In  concluding  his  remarks,  Mr.  Doolittle  referred  to  instruc- 
tions received  by  him  from  the  Legislature  of  Wisconsin :  "  Mr. 
President,  I  have  received,  in  connection  with  my  colleague,  a 
telegraphic  dispatch  from  the  Governor  of  the  State  of  Wiscon- 
sin, which  I  have  no  doubt  is  correct,  although  I  have  not  seen 
the  resolution  which  is  said  to  have  been  passed  by  the  Legisla- 
ture, in  which  it  is  stated  that  the  Legislature  has  passed  a  reso- 
lution instructing  the  Senators  in  Congress  from  Wisconsin  to 
vote  for  the  passage  of  the  Senate  bill  commonly  known  as  the 
Civil  Eights  Bill,  the  veto  of  the  President  to  the  contrary  not- 
withstanding. I  have  already  stated,  from  my  stand-point,  the 
reasons  why,  in  my  judgment,  I  can  not  do  it;  I  have  stated 
them  freely  and  frankly,  and,  as  a  matter  of  course,  I  expect  to 
abide  the  consequences.  I  know  that  it  has  sometimes  been  said 
to  me,  by  those,  too,  in  whom  I  would  have  confidence,  that  for 
me,  under  circumstances  like  these,  not  to  follow  the  instructions 
of  the  Legislature  of  my  State,  would  be  to  terminate  my  polit- 
ical life.  Sir,  be  it  so.  I  never  held  or  aspired  to  any  other 
office  politically  than  the  one  I  now  hold;  and  God  knows,  if  I 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  287 

know  my  own  heart,  if  I  can  see  this  Union  restored  after  this 
gigantic  war  which  has  ptit  down  the  rebellion,  and  to  which  I 
have  lent  my  support,  I  shall  be  satisfied.  I  do  not  desire  to 
remain  in  political  life  beyond  that  hour.  There  is  nothing  in 
that  which  will  have  the  slightest  influence  whatever  upon  me. 
The  duty  which  I  owe  to  myself,  the  duty  which  I  owe  to  the 
country,  the  duty  which  I  owe  to  the  union  of  these  States,  and 
the  preservation  of  the  rights  of  the  States,  and  the  duty  which 
I  owe  to  the  great  Republican  party,  which  I  would  still  desire 
to  save,  prompts  me  to  pursue  the  course  which  I  now  do." 

Mr.  Garrett  Davis,  of  Kentucky,  addressed  the  Senate  in  a 
long  speech,  of  which  the  following  is  the  closing  paragraph : 
"Public  justice  is  often  slow,  but  generally  sure*.  Think  you 
that  the  people  will  look  on  with  folded  arms  and  stolid  indiffer- 
ence and  see  you  subvert  their  Constitution  and  liberties,  and  on 
their  ruins  erect  a  grinding  despotism.  No;  erelong  they  will 
rise  up  with  earthquake  force  and  fling  you  from  power  and 
place.  I  commend  to  your  serious  meditation  these  words :  *  Go 
tell  Sylla  that  you  saw  Caius  Marius  sitting  upon  the  ruins  of 
Carthage!'" 

Mr.  Saulsbury  thought  a  revolution  would  result  from  the 
passage  of  this  bill :  "  In  my  judgment  the  passage  of  this  bill 
is  the  inauguration  of  revolution^— bloodless,  as  yet,  but  the  at- 
tempt to  execute  it  by  the  machinery  and  in  the  mode  provided 
in  the  bill  will  lead  to  revolution  in  blood.  .  It  is  well  that  the 
American  people  should  take  warning  in  time  and  set  their  house 
in  order,  but  it  is  utterly  impossible  that  the  people  of  this  coun- 
try will  patiently  entertain  and  submit  to  this  great  wrong.  I 
do  not  say  this  because  I  want  a  revolution ;  Heaven  knows  we 
have  had  enough  of  bloodshed ;  we  have  had  enough  of  strife ; 
there  has  been  enough  of  mourning  in  every  household;  there 
are  too  many  new-made  graves  on  which  the  grass  has  not  yet 
grown  for  any  one  to  wish  to  see  the  renewal  of  strife ;  but,  sir, 
attempt  to  execute  this  act  within  the  limits  of  the  States  of  this 
Union,  and,  in  my  judgment,  this  country  will  again  be  plunged 
into  all  the  horrors  of  civil  war." 

Mr.  McDougall  said:  "I  agree  with  the  Senator  from  Dela- 
ware  that  this  measure  is  revolutionary  in  its  character.  The 
majority  glory  in  their  giant  power,  but  they  ought  to  under- 
stand that  it  is  tyrannous  to  exercise  that  power  like  a  giant.     A 


288  THE  THIfiTT-NIJYTH  CONGRESS. 

revolution  now  is  moving  onward ;  it  has  its  center  in  the  North- 
east. A  spirit  has  been  radiating  out 'from  there  for  years  past 
as  revolutionary  as  the  spirit  that  went  out  from  Charleston, 
South  Carolina,  and  perhaps  its  consequences  will  be  equally 
fatal,  for  when  that  revolutionary  struggle  comes  it  will- not  be  a 
war  between  the  North  and  its  power  and  the  slaveholding  pop- 
ulation of  the  South;  it  will  be  among  the  North  men  them- 
selves, they  who  have  lived  under  the  shadows  of  great  oaks,  and 
seen  the  tall  pine-trees  bend." 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  remarks  by  the  Senator  from  Califor- 
nia, the  vote  was  taken,  with  the  following  result: 

Yeas — Messrs.  .Anthony,  Brown,  Chandler,  Clark,  Conness,  Cragin,  Cres- 
well,  Edmunds,  Fessenden,  Foster,  Grimes,  Harris,  Henderson,  Howard, 
Howe,  Kirkwood,  Lane  of  Indiana,  Morgan,  Morrill,  Nye,  Poland,  Pomeroy, 
Ramsey,  Sherman,  Sprague,  Stewart,  Sumner,  Trumbull,  Wade,  Willey,  Wil- 
liams, Wilson,  and  Yates — 33. 

Nays — Messrs.  Buckalew,  Cowan,  Davis,  Doolittle,  Guthrie^  Hendricks, 
Johnson,  Lane  of  Kansas,  McDougall,  Nesmith,  Norton,  Riddle,  Saulsbury, 
Van  Winkle,  and  Wright — 15. 

Absent — Mr.  Dixon. 

The  President  pro  tempore  then  made  formal  announcement  of 
the  result:  "The  yeas  being  33  and  the  nays  15,  the  bill  has 
passed  the  Senate  by  the  requisite  constiutional  majority,  not- 
withstanding the  objection  of  the  President  to  the  contrary." 

On  the  9th  of  April,  1866,  three  days  after  the  passage  of  the 
bill  in  the  Senate,  the  House  of  Representatives  proceeded  to  its 
consideration.  The  bill  and  the  President's  Veto  Message  hav- 
ing been  read,  Mr.  Wilson,  of  Iowa,  demanded  the  previous  ques- 
tion on  the  passage  of  the  bill,  the  objections  of  the  President  to 
the  contrary  notwithstanding,  and  gave  his  reasons  for  so  doing: 
"Mr.  Speaker,  the  debate  which  occurred  on  this  bill  occupied 
two  weeks  of  the  time  of  this  House.  Some  forty  speeches  were 
made,  and  the  debate  was  not  brought  to  a  close  until  all  had 
been  heard  who  expressed  a  desire  to  speak  upon  the  bill.  At 
the  close  of  that  debate,  the  bill  was  passed  by  more  than  two- 
thirds  of  this  House.  It  has  been  returned  to  us  with  the  objec- 
tions of  the  President  to  its  becoming  a  law.  I  do  not  propose 
to  reopen  the  discussion  of  this  measure ;  I  am  disposed  to  leave 
the  close  of  this  debate  to  the  President  by  the  message  which 
has  just  been  read.     I  ask  the  friends  of  this  great  measure  to 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  289 

answer  the  argument  and  statements  of  that  message  by  their 
votes." 

The  vote  was  finally  taken  on  the  question,  'Shall  this  bill 
pass,  notwithstanding  the  objections  of  the  President?"  The  fol- 
lowing is  the  record  of  the  vote: 

Yeas— Messrs.  Alley,  Allison,  Delos  R.  Ashley,  James  ML  Ashley,  Baker, 
Baldwin,  Banks,  Barker,  Baxter,  Beaman,  Benjamin,  Bidwell,  Boutwell, 
Brandegee,  Bromwell,  Broomall,  Buckland,  Bundy,  Reader  W.  Clarke,  Sid- 
ney Clarke,  Cobb,  Colfax,  Conkling,  Cook,  Cullom,  Darling,  Davis,  Dawes, 
Defrecs,  Delano,  Deming,  Dixon,  Dodge,  Donnelly,  Eckley,  Eggleston,  Eliot, 
Farnsworth,  Farquhar,  Ferry,  Garfield,  Grinnell,  Griswold,  Hale,  Abner  C. 
Harding,  Hart,  Hayes,  Henderson,  Higby,  Hill,  Holmes,  Hooper,  Hotch- 
kiss,  Asahel  W.  Hubbard,  Chester  D.  Hubbard,  John  H.  Hubbard,  James 
i:  Hubbell,  Hulburd,  Jame3  Humphrey,  Ingersoll,  Jenckes,  Kasson,  Kel- 
ley,  Kelso,  Ketcham,  Laflin,  George  V.  Lawrence,  William  Lawrence, 
Loan,  Longyear,  Lynch,  Marston,  Marvin,  McClurg,  Mclndoe,  McKee, 
McEuer,  Mercur,  Miller,  Moorhead,  Morrill,  Morris,  Moulton,  Myers,  New- 
ell, O'Neill,  Orth,  Paine,  Patterson,  Perham,  Pike,  Plants,  Pomeroy,  Price, 
Alexander  H  Rice,  John  II.  Rice,  Rollins,  Sawyer,  Schenck,  Scofield,  Shella- 
■r,  Spalding,  Starr,  Stevens,  Thayer,  Francis  Thomas,  John  L.  Thomas, 
Trowbridge,  Dpson,  Van  Aernam,  Burt  Van  Horn,  Robert  T.  Van  Horn, 
Ward,  Elihu  l'».  Washburne,  Henry  D.  Washburn,  William  B.  Washburn, 
Welker,  Wmtworth,  James  F  Wilson,  Stephen  F  Wilson,  Windom,  and 
Woodbriuge— 122. 

Xavs— Messrs.  Ancona,  Bergen,  Boyer,  Coffroth,  Dawson,  Dennison,  El- 
dridge,  Finck,  Glossbrenner,  Aaron  Harding,  Harris,  Hogan,  Edwin  N. 
Hnbbell,  James  M.  Humphrey,  Latham,  Le  Blond,  Marshall,  McCullough, 
Niblack,  Nicholson,  Noell,  Phelps,  Radford,  Samuel  J.  Randall,  William  H. 
Randall,  Raymond,  Ritter,  Rogers,  Ross,  Rosseau,  Shanklin,  Sitgreaves, 
Smith,  Strouse,  Taber,  Taylor,  Thornton,  Trimble,  Whaley,  Winfield,  and 

Wright— 41. 

Not  Voting— Messrs.  Ames,  Anderson,  Bingham,  Blaine,  Blow,  Chanler, 
Culver,  Driggs,  Dumont,  Goodyear,  Grider,  Demas  Hubbard,  Johnson,  Jones, 
Julian,'  Ker^  Kuykendall,  Sloan,  Stilwell,  Warner,  and  Williams— 21. 

The  Speaker  then  made  the  following  announcement:  "The 
yeas  are  122,  and  the  nays  41.  Two-thirds  of  the  House  hav- 
ing, upon  this  reconsideration,  agreed  to  the  passage  of  the  bill, 
and  it  being  certified  officially  that  a  similar  majority  of  the  Sen- 
ate, in  which  the  bill  originated,  also  agreed  to  its  passage,  I  do, 
therefore,  by  the  authority  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  declare  that  this  bill,  entitled  'An  act  to  protect  all  per- 
sons in  the  United .  States  in  their  civil  rights,  and  furnish  the 
means  of  their  vindication/  has  become  a  law." 
19' 


290  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

This  announcement  was  followed  by  prolonged  applause  on  the 
floor  of  the  House  and  among  the  throng  of  spectators  in  the  gal- 
leries. 

The  following  is  the  form  in  which  the  great  measure  so  long 
pending  became  a  law  of  the  land : 

"Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United 
States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled,  That  all  persons  born  in  the  United 
States  and  not  subject  to  any  foreign  Power,  excluding  Indians  not  taxed, 
are  hereby  declared  to  be  citizens  of  the  United  States;  and  such  citizens 
of  every  race  and  color,  without  regard  to  any  previous  condition  of  slavery 
or  involuntary  servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof  the 
party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  shall  have  the  same  right  in  every 
State  and  Territory  in  the  United  States  to  make  and  enforce  contracts,  to 
sue,  be  parties,  and  give  evidence,  to  inherit,  purchase,  lease,  sell,  hold,  and 
convey  real  and  personal  property,  and  to  full  and  ecpaal  benefit  of  all  laws 
and  proceedings  for  the  security  of  person  and  property  as  is  enjoyed  by 
white  citizens,  and  shall  be  subject  to  like  punishment,  pains,  and  penalties, 
and  to  none  other,  any  law,  statute,  ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom  to  the 
contrary  notwithstanding. 

"  Sec.  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  any  person  who,  under  color  of 
any  law,  statute,  ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom,  shall  subject,  or  cause  to 
be  subjected,  any  inhabitant  of  any  State  or  Territory  to  the  deprivation  of 
any  right  secured  or  protected  by  this  act,  or  to  different  punishment,  pains, 
or  penalties  on  account  of  such  person  having  at  any  time  been  held  in  a 
condition  of  slavery  or  involuntary  servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for 
crime  whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  or  by  reason  of  his 
color  or  race,  than  is  prescribed  for  the  punishment  of  white  persons,  shall 
be  deemed  guilty  of  a  misdemeanor,  and,  on  conviction,  shall  be  punished 
by  a  fine  not  exceeding  $1,000,  or  imprisonment  not  exceeding  one  year,  or 
both,  in  the  discretion  of  the  court. 

"  Sec.  3.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  district  courts  of  the  United 
States,  within  their  respective  districts,  shall  have,  exclusively  of  the  courts  of 
the  several  States,  cognizance  of  all  crimes  and  offenses  committed  against 
the  provisions  of  this  act,  and  also,  concurrently  with  the  circuit  courts  of 
the  United  States,  of  all  causes,  civil  and  criminal,  affecting  persons  who  are 
denied  or  can  not  enforce  in  the  courts  or  judicial  tribunals  of  the  State 
or  locality  where  they  may  be,  any  of  the  rights  secured  tb  them  by  the  first 
section  of  this  act;  and  if  any  suit  or  prosecution,  civil  or  criminal,  has  been 
or  shall  be  commenced  in  any  State  court  against  any  such  person,  for  any 
cause  whatsoever,  or  against  any  officer,  civil  or  military,  or  other  person, 
for  any  arrest  or  imprisonment,  trespasses  or  wrongs,  done  or  committed  by 
virtue  or  under  color  of  authority  derived  from  this  act  or  the  act  establish- 
ing a  Bureau  for  the  Relief  of  Freedmen  and  Refugees,  and  all  acts  amend- 
atory thereof,  or  for  refusing  to  do  any  act  upon  the  ground  that  it  would 
be  inconsistent  with  this  act,  such  defendant  shall  have  the  right  to  remove 
such  cause  for  trial  to  the  proper  district  or  circuit  court  in  the  manner 


CIVIL  EIGHTS  BILL.  291 

prescribed  by  the  'Act  relating  to  habeas  corpus  and  regulating  judicial  pro- 
ceedings in  certain  cases,'  approved  March  3,  1863,  and  all  acts  amendatory 
thereof.  The  jurisdiction  in  civil  and  criminal  matters  hereby  conferred 
on  the  district  and  circuit  courts  of  the  United  States  shall  be  exercised 
and  enforced  in  conformity  with  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  so  far  as 
such  laws  are  suitable  to  carry  the  same  into  effect ;  but  in  all  cases  where 
such  laws  are  not  adapted  to  the  object,  or  are  deficient  in  the  provisions 
necessary  to  furnish  suitable  remedies  and  punish  offenses  against  law,  the 
common  law,  as  modified  and  changed  by  the  constitution  and  statutes  of 
the  States  wherein  the  court  having  jurisdiction  of  the  cause,  civil  or  crim- 
inal, is  held,  so  far  as  the  same  is  not  inconsistent  with  the  Constitution 
and  laws  of  the  United  States,  shall  be  extended  to  and  govern  said  courts 
in  the  trial  and  disposition  of  such  cause,  and,  if  of  a  criminal  nature,  in 
the  infliction  of  punishment  on  the  party  found  guilty. 

"  Sec.  4.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  district  attorneys,  marshals, 
and  deputy-marshals  of  the  United  States,  the  commissioners  appointed  by 
the  circuit  and  territorial  courts  of  the  United  States,  with  powers  of  arrest- 
in  g.  imprisoning,  or  bailing  offenders  against  the  laws  of  the  United  States, 
the  officers  and  agents  of  the  Freedmen's  Bureau,  and  every  other  officer 
who  may  be  specially  empowered  by  the  President  of  the  United  States, 
shall  be,  and  they  are  hereby,  specially  authorized  and  required,  at  the  ex- 
pense of  the  United  States,  to  institute  proceedings  against  all  and  every 
person  who  shall  violate  the  provisions  of  this  act,  and  cause  him  or  them 
to  be  arrested  and  imprisoned,  or  bailed,  as  the  case  may  be,  for  trial  before 
such  court  of  the  United  States,  or  territorial  court,  as  by  this  act  has  cog- 
nizance of  the  offense.  And  with  a  view  to  affording  reasonable  protection 
to  all  persons  in  their  constitutional  rights  of  equality  before  the  law,  with-  v 
out  distinction  of  race  or  color,  or  previous  condition  of  slavery  or  involuntary 
servitude,  except  as  a  punishment  for  crime  whereof  the  party  shall  have 
been  duly  convicted,  and  to  the  prompt  discharge  of  the  duties  of  this  act, 
it  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  circuit  courts  of  the  United  States  and  the  supe- 
rior courts  of  the  Territories  of  the  United  States,  from  time  to  time,  to^  in- 
crease the  number  of  commissioners,  so  as  to  afford  a  speedy  and  convenient 
means  for  the  arrest  and  examination  of  persons  charged  with  a  violation 
of  this  act.  And  such  commissioners  are  hereby  authorized  and  required 
to  exercise  and  discharge  all  the  powers  and  duties  conferred  on  them  by 
this  act,  and  the  same  duties  with  regard  to  offenses  created  by  this  act,  as 
they  are  authorized  by  law  to  exercise  with  regard  to  other  offenses  against 
the  laws  of  the  United  States. 

"  Sec.  5.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  all  mar- 
shals and  deputy-marshals  to  obey  and  execute  all  warrants  and  precepts 
issued  under  the  provisions  of  this  act,  when  to  them  directed;  and  should 
any  marshal  or  deputy-marshal  refuse  to  receive  such  warrant  or  other  pro- 
cess when  tendered,  or  to  use  all  proper  means  diligently  to  execute  the 
same,  he  shall,  on  conviction  thereof,  be  fined  in  the  sum  of  $1,000,  to  the 
use  of  the  person  upon  whom  the  accused  is  alleged  to  have  commmitted 
the  offense.  And  the  better  to  enable  the  said  commissioners  to  execute  their 
duties  faithfully  and  efficiently,  in  conformity  with  the  Constitution  of  the 


292  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

United  States  and  the  requirements  of  this  act,  they  are  hereby  authorized 
and  empowered,  within  their  counties  respectively,  to  appoint,  in  writing, 
under  their  hands,  any  one  or  more  suitable  persons,  from  time  to  time,  to 
execute  all  such  warrants  and  other  process  as  may  be  issued  by  them  in 
the  lawful  performance  of  their  respective  duties;  and  the  persons  so  ap- 
pointed to  execute  any  warrant  or  process  as  aforesaid,  shall  have  authority 
to  summon  and  call  to  their  aid  the  bystanders  or  the  posse  comitatus  of  the 
proper  county,  or  such  portion  of  the  land  and  naval  forces  of  the  United 
States,  or  the  militia,  as  may  be  necessary  to  the  performance  of  the  duty 
with  which  they  are  charged,  and  to  insure  a  faithful  observance  of  the 
clause  of  the  Constitution  which  prohibits  slavery,  in  conformity  with  the 
provisions  of  this  act ;  and  said  warrants  shall  run  and  be  executed  by  said 
officers  anywhere  in  the  State  or  Territory  within  which  they  are  issued. 

"Sec.  6.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  any  person  who  shall  knowingly 
and  willfully  obstruct,  hinder,  or  prevent  any  officer,  or  other  person,  charged 
with  the  execution  of  any  warrant  or  process  issued  under  the  provisions 
of  this  act,  or  any  person  or  persons  lawfully  assisting  him  or  them,  from 
arresting  any  person  for  whose  apprehension  such  warrant  or  process  may 
have  been  issued,  or  shall  rescue  or  attempt  to  rescue  such  person  from 
the  custody  of  the  officer,  other  person  or  persons,  or  those  lawfully  assist- 
ing as  aforesaid,  when  so  arrested  pursuant  to  the  authority  herein  given 
and  declared,  or  who  shall  aid,  abet,  or  assist  any  person  so  arrested  as 
aforesaid,  directly  or  indirectly,  to  escape  from  the  custody  of  the  officer  or 
other  person  legally  authorized  as  aforesaid,  or  shall  harbor  or  conceal  any 
person  for  whose  arrest  a  warrant  or  process  shall  have  been  issued  as 
aforesaid,  so  as  to  prevent  his  discovery  and  arrest  after  notice  or  knowledge 
of  the  fact  that  a  warrant  has  been  issued  for  the  apprehension  of  such  per- 
son, shall,  for  either  of  said  offenses,  be  subject  to  a  fine  not  exceeding 
$1,000,  and  imprisonment  not  exceeding  six  months,  by  indictment  and  con- 
viction before  the  district  court  of  the  United  States  for  the  district  in  which 
said  offense  may  have  been  committed,  or  before  the  proper  court  of  crim- 
inal jurisdiction,  if  committed  within  any  one  of  the  organized  Territories 
of  the  United  States. 

"Sec.  7.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  district  attorneys,  the  mar- 
shals, the  deputies,  and  the  clerks  of  the  said  district  and  territorial  courts 
shall  be  paid  for  their  services  the  like  fees  as  may  be  allowed  to  them  for 
similar  services  in  other  cases;  and  in  all  cases  where  the  proceedings  are 
before  a  commissioner,  he  shall  be  entitled  to  a  fee  of  ten  dollars  in  full  for 
his  services  in  each  case,  inclusive  of  all  services  incident  to  such  arrest 
and  examination.  The  person  or  persons  authorized  to  execute  the  process 
to  be  issued  by  such  commissioners  for  the  arrest  of  offenders  against  the 
provisions  of  this  act,  shall  be  entitled  to  a  fee  of  five  dollars  for  each  per- 
son he  or  they  may  arrest  and  take  before  any  such  commissioner  as  afore- 
said, with  such  other  fees  as  may  be  deemed  reasonable  by  such  commis- 
fiioner  for  such  other  additional  services  as  may  be  necessarily  performed  by 
him  or  them,  such  as  attending  at  the  examination,  keeping  the  prisoner  in 
custody,  and  providing  him  with  food  and  lodging  during  his  detention,  and 
until  the  final  determination  of  such  commissioner,  and  in  general  for  per- 


CIVIL  RIGHTS  BILL.  293 

forming  such  other  duties  as  may  be  required  in  the  premises ;  such  fees 
to  be  made  up  in  conformity  with  the  fees  usually  charged  by  the  officers 
of  the  courts  of  justice  within  the  proper  district  or  county,  as  near  as  may 
be  practicable,  and  paid  out  of  the  Treasury  of  the  United  States  on  the 
certificate  of  the  judge  of  the  district  within  which  the  arrest  is  made,  and 
to  be  recoverable  from  the  defendant  as  part  of  the  judgment  in  case  of 
conviction. 

"Sec.  8.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  whenever  the  President  of  the 
United  States  Bhall  have  reason  to  believe  that  offenses  have  been  or  are 
likely  to  be  committed  against  the  provisions  of  this  act  within  any  judicial 
district,  it  shall  be  lawful  for  him,  in  his  discretion,  to  direct  the  judge, 
marshal,  and  district  attorney  of  such  district  to  attend  at  such  place  within 
the  district,  and  for  such  time  as  he  may  designate,  for  the  purpose  of  the 
more  speedy  arrest  and  trial  of  persons  charged  with  a  violation  of  this 
act;  and  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  every  judge  or  other  officer,  when  any  such 
requisition  shall  be  received  by  him,  to  attend  at  the  place,  and  for  the 
time  therein  designated. 

"Sec.  9.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  it  shall  be  lawful  for  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States,  or  such  person  as  he  may  empower  for  that  pur- 
pose, to  employ  such  part  of  the  land  or  naval  forces  of  the  United  States, 
or  of  the  militia,  as  shall  be  necessary  to  prevent  the  violation  and  enforce 
the  due  execution  of  this  act. 

"  Sec.  10.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  upon  all  questions  of  law  aris- 
ing in  any  cause  under  the  provisions  of  this  act  a  final  appeal  may  be  taken 
to  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States." 


294  TEE  TEIETT-NINTE  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER    XII. 

the  second  freedmen's  bureau  bill  becomes  a  law. 

Thk  Discovery  op  the  Majority — The  Senate  Bill — The  House  Bill — 
Its  Provisions — Passage  of  the  Bill — Amendment  and  Passage  in  the 
Senate — Committee  op  Conference — The  Amendments  as  Accepted — 
The  Bill  as  Passed — The  Veto — The  Proposition  of  a  Democrat 
Accepted — Confusion  in  Leadership — Passage  of  the  Bill  over  the 
Veto — It  Becomes  a  Law. 

CONGRESS  having  succeeded  in  placing  the  Civil  Rights  Bill 
in  the  statute-book  in  spite  of  Executive  opposition,  was  not 
disposed  to  allow  other  legislation  which  was  regarded  as 
important  to  go  by  default.  The  disposition  of  the  President, 
now  plainly  apparent,  to  oppose  all  legislation  which  the  party 
that  had  elevated  him  to  office  might  consider  appropriate  to  the 
condition  of  the  rebel  States,  the  majority  in  Congress  discovered 
that,  if  they  would  make  progress  in  the  work  before  them,  they 
must  be  content  to  do  without  Executive  approval.  The  defec- 
tion of  the  President  from  the  principles  of  the  party  which 
had  elected  him,  so  far  from  dividing  and  destroying  that  party, 
had  rather  given  it  consolidation  and  strength.  After  the  veto 
of  the  Civil  Rights  Bill,  a  very  few  members  of  the  Senate  and 
House  of  Representatives  who  had  been  elected  as  Republicans 
adhered  to  the  President,  but  the  most  of  those  who  had  wavered 
stepped  forward  into  the  ranks  of  the  "  Radicals,"  as  they  were 
called,  and  a  firm  and  invincible  "two-thirds"  moved  forward 
to  consummate  legislation  which  they  deemed  essential  to  the 
interests  of  the  nation. 

So  fully  convinced  were  the  majority  that  some  effective  legisla- 
tion for  the  freedmen  should  be  consummated,  that  two  days  after 
the  final  vote  in  which  the  former  bill  failed  to  pass  over  the  veto, 
Senator  Wilson  introduced  a  bill  "  to  continue  in  force  the  Bu 


THE  FREEDMEN.  295 

reau  for  the  relief  of  Freedmen  and  Refugees,"  which  was  read 
twice  and  referred  to  the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs. 

The  bill,  however,  which  subsequently  became  a  law,  origi- 
nated in  the  House  of  Representatives.  In  that  branch  of  Con- 
gress was  a  Special  Committee  on  the  Freedmen,  who  were  able 
to  give  more  immediate  and  continuous  attention  to  that  class  of 
people  than  could  committees  such  as  those  of  the  Judiciary  and 
Military  Affairs,  having  many  other  subjects  to  consider. 

The  Committee  on  the  Freedmen,  having  given  much  time 
and  attention  to  the  perfection  of  a  measure  to  meet  the  neces- 
sities of  the  case,  on  the  2 2d  of  May  reported  through  their 
chairman,  Mr.  Eliot,  "  A  bill  to  continue  in  force  and  amend  an 
act  entitled  '  an  act  to  establish  a  Bureau  for  the  relief  of  Freed- 
men and  Refugees,  and  for  other  purposes.' " 

This  bill  provided  for  keeping  in  force  the  Freedmen's  Bureau 
then  in  existence  for  two  years  longer.  Some  of  the  features  to 
which  the  President  had  objected  in  his  veto  of  the  former  bill 
had  been  modified  and  in  part  removed.  In  providing  for  the 
education  of  freedmen,  the  commissioner  was  restricted  to  co- 
operating so  far  with  the  charitable  people  of  the  country  as  to 
furnish  rooms  for  school-houses  and  protection  to  teachers.  The 
freedmen's  courts  were  to  be  kept  in  existence  till  State  legisla- 
tion should  conform  itself  to  the  Civil  Rights  Bill,  and  the  dis- 
turbed relations  of  the  States  to  the  Union  were  restored.  The 
President  was  required  to  reserve  from  sale  public  lands,  not  ex- 
ceeding in  all  one  million  of  acres,  in  Arkansas,  Mississippi, 
Florida,  Alabama,  and  Louisiana,  to  be  assigned  in  parcels  of 
forty  acres  and  less  to  loyal  refugees  and  freedmen. 

One  week  after  the  introduction  of  the  bill,  its  consideration 
was  resumed.  The  question  was  taken  without  debate,  and  the 
bill  passed  by  a  vote  of  ninety-six  in  favor  and  thirty-two 
against  the  measure.     Fifty-five  members  failed  to  vote. 

On  the  day  following,  May  30th,  the  clerk  of  the  House  con- 
veyed the  bill  to  the  Senate.  It  was  there  referred  to  the  Com- 
mittee on  Military  Affairs,  as  that  committee  already  had  before 
them  seven  bills  relating  to  the  same  subject.  Nearly  a  fortnight 
subsequently,  the  committee  reported  back  to  the  Senate  the 
House  bill  with  certain  amendments.  The  report  of  the  com- 
mittee, and  the  amendments  proposed  therein,  could  not  be  con- 
sidered in  the  Senate  until  the  lapse  of  another  fortnight.     On 


296  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

the  26th  of  June,  the  amendments  devised  by  the  committee 
were  read  in  the  Senate  and  adopted.  Mr.  Davis  made  a  number 
of  attempts  to  have  the  bill  laid  on  the  table  or  deferred  to  a 
subsequent  day,  but  without  success.  Mr.  Hendricks  and  Mr. 
Buckalew  made  ineffectual  attempts  to  amend  the  bill  by  pro- 
posing to  strike  out  important  sections. 

The  Senate  indulged  in  but  little  discussion  of  the  bill  or  the 
amendments.  The  bill  as  amended  finally  passed  the  Senate  by 
a  vote  of  twenty-six  for  and  six  against  the  measure.  The  bill 
then  went  to  the  House  for  the  concurrence  of  that  body  in  the 
amendments  passed  by  the  Senate. 

The  Committee  on  the  Freedmen  made  a  report,  which  was 
adopted  by  the  House,  to  non-concur  in  the  amendments  of  the 
Senate.  A  Committee  of  Conference  was  appointed  on  the  part 
of  the  Senate  and  the  House.  They,  after  consultation,  made  a 
report  by  which  the  Senate  amendments,  with  some  modifications, 
were  adopted. 

Mr.  Eliot,  Chairman  of  the  Committee  on  the  Freedmen,  and 
of  the  Committee  of  Conference  on  the  part  of  the  House,  at  the 
recpuest  of  a  member,  thus  explained  the  amendments  proposed  by 
the  Senate :  "  The  first  amendment  which  the  Senate  made  to  the 
bill,  as  it  was  passed  by  the  House,  was  simply  an  enlargement 
of  one  of  the  sections  of  the  House  bill,  which  provided  that  the 
volunteer  medical  officers  engaged  in  the  medical  department  of 
the  bureau  might  be  continued,  inasmuch  as  it  was  expected  that 
the  medical  force  of  the  regular  army  would  be  speedily  reduced 
to  the  minimum,  and  in  that  case  all  the  regular  officers  would 
be  -wanted  in  the  service.  It  was  therefore  thought  right  that 
there  should  be  some  force  connected  with  the  Bureau  of  Refu- 
gees and  Freedmen.  The  Senate  enlarged  the  provisions  of  the 
House  bill  by  providing  that  officers  of  the  volunteer  service  now 
on  duty  might  be  continued  as  assistant  commissioners  and  other 
officers,  and  that  the  Secretary  of  War  might  fill  vacancies  until 
other  officers  could  be  detailed  from  the  regular  army.  That  is 
the  substance  of  the  first  material  amendment. 

"  The  next  amendment  strikes  out  a  portion  of  one  of  the  sec- 
tions of  the  House  bill,  which  related  to  the  officers  who  serve  as 
medical  officers  of  the  bureau,  because  it  was  provided  for  in  the 
amendment  to  which  I  have  just  referred. 

"The  next  amendment  strikes  out  from  the  House  bill  the 


THE  FREEDMEN.  297  ' 

section  which  set  apart,  reserved  from  sale,  a  million  acres  of  land 
in  the  Gulf  States.     It  may  perhaps  be  recollected  that  when  the 
bill  was  reported  from  the  committee,  I  stated  that,  in  case  the  bill 
which  the  House  had  then  passed,  and  which  was  known  as  the 
Homestead  Bill,  and  which  was  then  before  the  Senate,  should 
become  a  law,  this  section  of  the  bill  would  not  be  wanted.    The 
bill  referred  to  has  become  a  law,  and  this  section  five,  providing 
for  that  reservation,  has,  therefore,  been  stricken  from  the  bill. 
.    "  The  next  amendment  made  by  the  Senate  was  to  strike  out  a 
section  of  the  House  bill  which  simply  provided  that  upon  appli- 
cation for  restoration  by  the  former  owners  of  the  land  assigned 
under  General  Sherman's  field  order,  the  application  should  not 
be  complied  with.     That  section  is  stricken  out  and  another  sub- 
stituted for  it,  which  provides  that  certain  lands  which  are  now 
owned  by  the  United  States,  having  been  purchased  by  the  United 
States  under  tax  commissioners'  sales,  shall  be  assigned  in  lots  of 
twenty  acres  to  freedmen  who  have  had  allotments  under  General 
Sherman's  field  order,  at  the  price  for  which  the  lands  were  pur- 
chased by  the  United  States ;  and  not  only  that  those  freedmen 
should  have  such  allotments,  but  that  other  freedmen  who  had 
had  lots  assigned  to  them  under  General  Sherman's  field  order, 
and  who  may  have  become  dispossessed  of  their  land,  should  have 
assignments  made  to  them  of  these  lands  belonging  to  the  United 
States.    I  think  the  justice  of  that  provision  will  strike  every  one. 
And  it  will  be  perhaps  a  merit  in  the  eyes  of  many  that  it  does 
not  call  upon  the  Treasury  for  the  expenditure  of  any  money. 
In  the  bill  which  was  passed  by  the  House,  it  will  be  recollected 
that  there  was  a  provision  under  which  there  should  be  purchased 
by  the  commissioner  of  the  bureau  enough  public  lands  to  be  sub- 
stituted for  the  lands  at  first  assigned  to  freedmen.    Instead  of  that, 
provision  is  made  by  which  they  can  have  property  belonging  to 
the  United  States  which  has  come  into  its  possession  under  tax 
sales,  and  where  the  titles  have  been  made  perfect  by  lapse  of  time. 
"  The  next  amendment  of  the  Senate  provides  that  certain  lands 
which  were  purchased  by  the  United  States  at  tax  sales,  and  which 
are  now  held  by  the  United  States,  should  be  sold  at  prices  not 
less  than  ten  dollars  an  acre,  and  that  the  proceeds  should  be 
invested  for  the  support  of  schools,  without  distinction  of  color 
or  race,  on  the  islands  in  the  parishes  of  St.  Helena  and  St.  Luke. 
That  is  all  the  provision  which  was  made  for  education. 


298  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

■  "  The  only  other  material  amendment  made  by  the  Senate  gives 
to  the  commissioner  of  the  bureau  power  to  take  property  of  the 
late  Confederate  States,  held  by  them  or  in  trust  for  them,  and 
which  is  now  in  charge  of  the  commissioner  of  the  bureau,  to 
take  that  property  and  devote  it  to  educational  purposes.  The 
amendment  further  provides  that  when  the  bureau  shall  cease  to 
exist,  such  of  the  late  so-called  Confederate  States  as  shall  have 
made  provision  for  education,  without  regard  to  color,  should 
have  the  balance  of  money  remaining  on  hand,  to  be  divided, 
among  them  in  proportion  to  their  population." 

The  vote  followed  soon  after  the  remarks  of  Mr.  Eliot,  and 
the  bill,  as  amended,  passed  the  House  of  Representatives. 

The  following  is  the  bill  as  it  went  to  the  President  for  his 
approval : 

"An  Act  to  continue  in  force  and  to  amend  'An  Act  to  establish  a  Bureau 
for  the  relief  of  Freedmen  and  Refugees,'  and  for  other  purposes. 

"Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States 
of  America  in  Congress  assembled,  That  the  act  to  establish  a  bureau  for  the 
relief  of  freedmen  and  refugees,  approved  March  third,  eighteen  hundred 
and  sixty-five,  shall  continue  in  force  for  the  term  of  two  years  from  and 
after  the  passage  of  this  act. 

"Sec.  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  supervision  and  care  of  said 
bureau  shall  extend  to  all  loyal  refugees  and  freedmen,  so  far  as  the  same 
shall  be  necessary,  to  enable  them,  as  speedily  as  practicable,  to  become 
self-supporting  citizens  of  the  United  States,  and  to  aid  them  in  making  the 
freedom  conferred  by  proclamation  of  the  commander-in-chief,  by  emanci- 
pation under  the  laws  of  States,  and  by  constitutional  amendment,  availa- 
ble to  them  and  beneficial  to  the  republic. 

"Sec.  3.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  President^  shall,  by  and.  with 
the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Senate,  appoint  two  assistant  commissioners, 
in  addition  to  those  authorized  by  the  act  to  which  this  is  an  amendment, 
who  shall  give  like  bonds  and  receive  the  same  annual  salaries  provided  in 
said  act ;  and  each  of  the  assistant  commissioners  of  the  bureau  shall  have 
charge  of  one  district  containing  such  refugees  or  freedmen,  to  be  assigned 
him  by  the  commissioner,  with  the  approval  of  the  President.  And  the 
commissioner  shall,  under  the  direction  of  the  President,  and  so  far  as  the 
same  shall  be,  in  his  judgment,  necessary  for  the  efficient  and  economical 
administration  of  the  affairs  of  the  bureau,  appoint  such  agents,  clerks,  and 
assistants  as  may  be  required  for  the  proper  conduct  of  the  bureau.  Mili- 
tary officers  or  enlisted  men  may  be  detailed  for  service  and  assigned  to 
duty  under  this  act;  and  the  President  may,  if,  in  his  judgment,  safe  and 
judicious  so  to  do,  detail  from  the  army  all  the  officers  and  agents  of  this 
bureau;  but  no  officer  so  assigned  shall  have  increase  of  pay  or  allowances. 
Each  agent  or  clerk,  not  heretofore  authorized  by  law,  not  being  a  military 


THE  FREEBMEK.  299 

officer,  shall  have  an  annual  salary  of  not  less  than  five  hundred  dollars,  nor 
more  than  twelve  hundred  dollars,  according  to  the  service  required  of  him. 
And  it  shall  be  the  duty  of  the  commissioner,  when  it  can  be  done  consist- 
ently with  public  interest,  to  appoint,  as  assistant  commissioners,  agents, 
and  clerks,  such  men  as  have  proved  their  loyalty  by  faithful  service  in  the 
armies  of  the  Union  during  the  rebellion.  And  all  persons  appointed  to 
service  under  this  act,  and  the  act  to  which  this  is  an  amendment,  shall  be 
so  far  deemed  in  the  military  service  of  the  United  States  as  to  be  under 
the  military  jurisdiction  and  entitled  to  the  military  protection  of  the  Gov- 
ernment while  in  discharge  of  the  duties  of  their  office. 

"Sec.  4.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  officers  of  the  Veteran  Reserve 
Corps  or  of  the  volunteer  service,  now  on  duty  in  the  Freedmen's  Bureau 
as  assistant  commissioners,  agents,  medical  officers,  or  in  other  capacities, 
whose  regiments  or  corps  have  been  or  may  hereafter  be  mustered  out  of 
service,  may  be  retained  upon  such  duty  as  officers  of  said  bureau,  with  the 
same  compensation  as  is  now  provided  by  law  for  their  respective  grades ; 
and  the  Secretary  of  War  shall  have  power  to  fill  vacancies  until  other  of- 
ficers can  be  detailed  in  their  places  without  detriment  to  the  public  service. 

"  Sec.  5.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  second  section  of  the  act  to 
which  this  is  an  amendment  shall  be  deemed  to  authorize  the  Secretary  of 
War  to  issue  such  medical  stores  or  other  supplies,  and  transportation,  and 
afford  such  medical  or  other  aid  as  may  be  needful  for  the  purposes  named 
in  said  section:  Provided,  That  no  person  shall  be  deemed  'destitute,'  'suf- 
fering,' or  'dependent  upon  the  Government  for  support,'  within  the  mean- 
ing of  this  act,  who  is  able  to  find  employment,  and  could,  by  proper  industry 
or  exertion,  avoid  such  destitution,  suffering,  or  dependence. 

"Sec.  6.  Whereas,  by  the  provisions  of  an  act  approved  February  sixth, 
eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-three,  entitled  'An  act  to  amend  an  act  entitled 
"An  act  for  the  collection  of  direct  taxes  in  insurrectionary  districts  within 
the  United  States,  and  for  other  purposes,"  approved  June  seventh,  eighteen 
hundred  and  sixty-two,'  certain  lands  in  the  parishes  of  Saint  Helena  and 
Saint  Luke,  South  Carolina,  were  bid  in  by  the  United  States  at  public  tax 
sales,  and,  by  the  limitation  of  said  act,  the  time  of  redemption  of  said 
lands  has  expired;  and  whereas,  in  accordance  with  instructions  issued  by 
President  Lincoln  on  the  sixteenth  day  of  September,  eighteen  hundred  and 
sixty-three,  to  the  United  States  direct  tax  commissioners  for  South  Caro- 
lina, certain  lands  bid  in  by  the  United  States  in  the  parish  of  Saint  Hel- 
ena, in  said  State,  were  in  part  sold  by  the  said  tax  commissioners  to  'heads 
of  families  of  the  African  race,'  in  parcels  of  not  more  than  twenty  acres 
to  each  purchaser;  and  whereas,  under  the  said  instructions,  the  said  tax 
commissioners  did  also  set  apart  as  'school-farms'  certain  parcels  of  land  in 
said  parish,  numbered  in  their  plats  from  one  to  sixty-three  inclusive,  mak- 
ing an  aggregate  of  six  thousand  acres,  more  or  less:  Therefore,  be  it  further 
enacted,  That  the  sales  made  to  'heads  of  families  of  the  African  race,'  un- 
der the  instructions  of  President  Lincoln  to  the  United  States  direct  tax 
commissioners  for  South  Carolina,  of  date  of  September  sixteenth,  eighteen 
hundred  and  sixty-three,  are  hereby  confirmed  and  established;  and  all 
leases  which  have  been  made  to  such  'heads  of  families'  by  said  direct 


300  TEE  TEIETT-JVIJVTE  CONGRESS. 

tax  commissioners  shall  be  changed  into  certificates  of  sale  in  all  cases 
wherein  the  lease  provides  for  such  substitution;  and  all  the  lands  now  re- 
maining unsold,  which  come  within  the  same  designation,  being  eight  thou- 
sand acres,  more  or  less,  shall  be  disposed  of  according  to  said  instructions. 
"Sec.  7.   And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  all  other  lands  bid  in  by  the 
United  States  at  tax  sales,  being  thirty-eight  thousand  acres,  more  or  less, 
and  now  in  the  hands  of  the  said  tax  commissioners  as  the  property  of  the 
United  States,  in  the  parishes  of  Saint  Helena  and  Saint  Luke,  excepting 
the  'school-farms,'  as  specified  in  the  preceding  section,  and  so  much  as 
may  be  necessary  for  military  and  naval  purposes  at  Hilton  Head,  Bay 
Point,  and  Land's  End,  and  excepting  also  the  city  of  Port  Royal,  on  Saint 
Helena  island,  and  the  town  of  Beaufort,  shall  be  disposed  of  in  parcels  of 
twenty  acres,  at  one  dollar  and  fifty  cents  per  acre,  to  such  persons,  and  to 
such  only,  as  have  acquired  and  are  now  occupying  lands  under  and  agree- 
ably to  the  provisions  of  General  Sherman's  special  field  order,  dated  at  Sa- 
vannah, Georgia,  January  sixteenth,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-five;  and  the 
remaining  lands,  if  any,  shall  be  disposed  of,  in  like  manner,  to  such  per- 
sons as  had  acquired  lands  agreeably  to  the  said  order  of  General  Sherman, 
but  who  have  been  dispossessed  by  the  restoration  of  the  same  to  former 
"owners:   Provided,  That  the  lands  sold  in  compliance  with  the  provisions 
of  this  and  the  preceding  section  shall  not  be  alienated  by  their  purchasers 
within  six  years  from  and  after  the  passage  of  this  act. 

"Sec.  8.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  'school-farms'  in  the  parish 
of  Saint  Helena,  South  Carolina,  shall  be  sold,  subject  to  any  leases  of  the 
same,  by  the  said  tax  commissioners,  at  public  auction,  on  or  before  the 
first  day  of  January,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-seven,  at  not  less  than  ten 
dollars  per  acre ;  and  the  lots  in  the  city  of  Port  Royal,  as  laid  down  by 
the  said  tax  commissioners,  and  the  lots  and  houses  in  the  town  of  Beau- 
fort, which  are  still  held  in  like  manner,  shall  be  sold  at  public  auction; 
and  the  proceeds  of  said  sales,  after  paying  expenses  of  the  surveys  and 
sales,  shall  be  invested  in  United  States  bonds,  the  interest  of  which  shall 
be  appropriated,  under  the  direction  of  the  commissioner,  to  the  support  of 
schools,  without  distinction  of  color  or  race,  on  the  islands  in  the  parishes 
of  Saint  Helena  and  Saint  Luke. 

"Sec.  9.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  assistant  commissioners  for 
South  Carolina  and  Georgia  are  hereby  authorized  to  examine  the  claims  to 
lands  in  their  respective  States  which  are  claimed  under  the  provisions  of 
General  Sherman's  special  field  order,  and  to  give  each  person  having  a 
valid  claim  a  warrant  upon  the  direct  tax  commissioners  for  South  Caro- 
lina for  twenty  acres  of  land;  and  the  said  direct  tax  commissioners  shall 
issue  to  every  person,  or  to  his  or  her  heirs,  but  in  no  case  to  any  assigns, 
presenting  such  warrant,  a  lease  of  twenty  acres  of  land,  as  provided  for 
in  section  seven,  for  the  term  of  six  years ;  but,  at  any  time  thereafter,  upon 
the  payment  of  a  sum  not  exceeding  one  dollar  and  fifty  cents  per  acre,  the 
person  holding  such  lease  shall  be  entitled  to  a  certificate  of  sale  of  said 
tract  of  twenty  acres  from  the  direct  tax  commissioner  or  such  officer  as 
may  be  authorized  to  issue  the  same;  but  no  warrant  shall  be  held  valid 
longer  than  two  years  after  the  issue  of  the  same. 


THE  FREEDMEN.  301 

"Sec.  10.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  direct  tax  commissioners  for 
South  Carolina  are  hereby  authorized  and  required,  at  the  earliest  day  prac- 
ticable, to  survey  the  lands  designated  in  section  seven  into  lots  of  twenty 
acres  each,  with  proper  metes  and  bounds  distinctly,  marked,  so  that  the  sev- 
eral tracts  shall  be  convenient  in  form,  and,  as  near  as  practicable,  have 
an  average  of  fertility  and  woodland;  and  the  expense  of  such  surveys  shall 
be  paid  from  the  proceeds  of  sales  of  said  lands,  or,  if  sooner  required,  out 
of  any  moneys  received  for  other  lands  on  these  islands,  sold  by  the  United 
States  for  taxes,  and  now  in  the  hands  of  the  direct  tax  commissioners. 

"Sec.  11.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  restoration  of  the  lands  now  oc- 
cupied by  persons  under  General  Sherman's  special  field  order,  dated  at 
Savannah,  Georgia,  January  sixteenth,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-five,  shall 
not  be  made  until  after  the  crops  of  the  present  year  shall  have  been  gath- 
ered by  the  occupants  of  said  lands,  nor  until  a  fair  compensation  shall 
have  been  made  to  them  by  the  former  owners  of  said  lands,  or  their  legal 
representatives,  for  all  improvements  or  betterments  erected  or  constructed 
thereon,  and  after  due  notice  of  the  same  being  done  shall  have  been  given 
by  the  assistant  commissioner. 

"  Sec.  12.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  commissioner  shall  have 
power  to  seize,  hold,  use,  lease,  or  sell,  all  buildings  and  tenements,  and 
any  lands  appertaining  to  the  same,  or  otherwise,  held  under  claim  or  title 
by  the  late  so-called  Confederate  States,  and  any  buildings  or  lands  held  in 
trust  for  the  same  by  any  person  or  persons,  and  to  use  the  same  or  appro- 
priate the  proceeds  derived  therefrom  to  the  education  of  the  freed  people; 
and  whenever  the  bureau  shall  cease  to  exist,  such  of  the  late  so-called  Con- 
federate States  as  shall  have  made  provision  for  the  education  of  their  citi- 
zens, without  distinction  of  color,  shall  receive  the  sum  remaining  unex- 
pended of  such  sales  or  rentals,  which  shall  be  distributed  among  said  States 
for  educational  purposes  in  proportion  to  their  population. 

"Sec  13.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  commissioner  of  this  bureau 
shall  at  all  times  cooperate  with  private  benevolent  associations  of  citizens 
in  aid  of  freedmen,  and  with  agents  and  teachers,  duly  accredited  and  ap- 
pointed by  them,  and  shall  hire  or  provide  by  lease  buildings  for  purposes 
of  education  whenever  such  associations  shall,  without  cost  to  the  Govern- 
ment, provide  suitable  teachers  and  means  of  instruction ;  and  he  shall  fur- 
nish protection  as  may  be  required  for  the  safe  conduct  of  such  schools. 

"Sec.  14.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  in  every  State  or  district  where 
the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings  has  been  interrupted  by  the  re- 
bellion, and  until  the  same  shall  be  fully  restored,  and  in  every  State  or  dis- 
trict whose  constitutional  relations  to  the  Government  have  been  practically 
discontinued  by  the  rebellion,  and  until  such  State  shall  have  been  restored 
in  such  relations,  and  shall  be  duly  represented  in  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States,  the  right  to  make  and  enforce  contracts,  to  sue,  be  parties,  and  give 
evidence,  to  inherit,  purchase,  lease,  sell,  hold,  and  convey  real  and  per- 
sonal property,  and  to  have  full  and  equal  benefit  of  all  laws  and  proceed- 
ings concerning  personal  liberty,  personal  security,  and  the  acquisition, 
enjoyment,  and  disposition  of  estate,  real  and  personal,  including  the  con- 
stitutional right  to  bear  arms,  shall  be  secured  to  and  enjoyed  by  all  the 


302  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

citizens  of  such  State  or  district,  without  respect  to  race  or  color,  or  previ- 
ous condition  of  slavery.  And  whenever  in  either  of  said  States  or  districts 
the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings  has  been  interrupted  by  the 
rebellion,  and  until  the  same  shall  be  fully  restored,  and  until  such  State 
shall  have  been  restored  in  its  constitutional  relations  to  the  Government, 
and  shall  be  duly  represented  in  the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  the 
President,  shall,  through  the  commissioner  and  the  officers  of  the  bureau, 
and  under  such  rules  and  regulations  as  the  President,  through  the  Secretary 
of  War,  shall  prescribe,  extend  military  protection  and  have  military  juris- 
diction over  all  cases  and  questions  concerning  the  free  enjoyment  of  such 
immunities  and  rights;  and  no  penalty  or  punishment  for  any  violation  of 
law  shall  be  imposed  or  permitted  because  of  race  or  color,  or  previous  con- 
dition of  slavery,  other  or  greater  than  the  penalty  or  punishment  to  which 
white  persons  may  be  liable  by  law  for  the  like  offense.  But  the  jurisdic- 
tion conferred  by  this  section  upon  the  officers  of  the  bureau  shall  not  ex- 
ist in  any  State  where  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings  has  not 
been  interrupted  by  the  rebellion,  and  shall  cease  in  every  State  when  the 
courts  of  the  State  and  the  United  States  are  not  disturbed  in  the  peace- 
able course  of  justice,  and  after  such  State  shall  be  fully  restored  in  its  con- 
stitutional relations  to  the  Government,  and  shall  be  duly  represented  in  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States. 

"Sec.  15.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  officers,  agents,  and  employ- 
ees of  this  bureau,  before  entering  upon  the  duties  of  their  office,  shall  take 
the  oath  prescribed  in  the  first  section  of  the  act  to  which  this  is  an  amend- 
ment; and  all  acts  or  parts  of  acts  inconsistent  with  the  provisions  of  this 
act  are  hereby  repealed. 

On  the  16th  of  July  the  President  returned  the  bill  to  the 
House  of  Representatives,  in  which  it  originated,  with  his  "  ob- 
jections thereto"  in  writing.     The  following  is 

THE  VETO   MESSAGE. 

"To  the  House  of  Representatives  : 

"  A  careful  examination  of  the  bill  passed  by  the  two  houses  of  Congress, 
entitled  '  An  act  to  continue  in  force  and  to  amend  "  An  act  to  establish  a 
bureau  for  the  relief  of  freedmen  and  refugees,"  and  for  other  purposes,'  has 
convinced  me  that  the  legislation  which  it  proposes  would  not  be  consistent 
with  the  welfare  of  the  country,  and  that  it  falls  clearly  within  the  reasons 
assigned  in  my  message  of  the  19th  of  February  last,  returning  without  my 
signature  a  similar  measure  which  originated  in  the  Senate.  It  is  not  my 
purpose  to  repeat  the  objections  which  I  then  urged.  They  are  yet  fresh  in 
your  recollection,  and  can  be  readily  examined  as  a  part  of  the  records  of 
one  branch  of  the  National  Legislature.  Adhering  to  the  principles  set  forth 
in  that  message,  I  now  reaffirm  them,  and  the  line  of  policy  therein  indi- 
cated. 

"  The  only  ground  upon  which  this  kind  of  legislation  can  be  justified  is 
that  of  the  war-making  power.     The  act  of  which  this  bill  was  intended  as 


THE  FREEDMEN.  SOS 

amendatory  was  passed  during  the  existence  of  the  war.  By  its  own  pro- 
visions, it  is  to  terminate  within  one  year  from  the  cessation  of  hostilities 
and  the  declaration  of  peace.  It  is  therefore  yet  in  existence,  and  it  is 
likely  that  it  will  continue  in  force  as  long  as  the  freedmen  may  require  the 
benefit  of  its  provisions.  It  will  certainly  remain  in  operation  as  a  law 
until  some  months  subsequent  to  the  meeting  of  the  next  session  of  Con- 
gress, when,  if  experience  shall  make  evident  the  necessity  of  additional 
legislation,  the  two  houses  will  have  ample  time  to  mature  and  pass  the 
requisite  measures.  In  the  mean  time  the  questions  arise,  Why  should  this 
war  measure  be  continued  beyond  the  period  designated  in  the  original  act? 
and  why,  in  time  of  peace,  should  military  tribunals  be  created  to  continue 
until  each  'State  shall  be  fully  restored  in  its  constitutional  relations  to  the 
Government,  and  shall  be  duly  represented  in  the  Congress  of  the  United 
States?'  It  was  manifest  with  respect  to  the  act  approved  March  3,  1865, 
that  prudence  and  wisdom  alike  required  that  jurisdiction  over  all  cases 
concerning  the  free  enjoyment  of  the  immunities  and  rights  of  citizenship, 
as  well  as  the  protection  of  person  and  property,  should  be  conferred  upon 
some  tribunal  in  every  State  or  district  where  the  ordinary  course  of  judicial 
proceeding  was  interrupted  by  the  rebellion,  and  until  the  same  should  be 
fully  restored.  At  that  time,  therefore,  an  urgent  necessity  existed  for  the 
passage  of  some  such  law.  Now,  however,  war  has  substantially  ceased; 
the  ordinary  course  of  judicial  proceedings  is  no  longer  interrupted;  the 
courts,  both  State  and  Federal,  are  in  full,  complete,  and  successful  opera- 
tion, and  through  them  every  person,  regardless  of  race  or  color,  is  entitled 
to  and  can  be  heard.  The  protection  granted  to  the  white  citizen  is  al- 
ready conferred  by  law  upon  the  freedman ;  strong  and  stringent  guards,  by 
way  of  penalties  and  punishments,  are  thrown  around  his  person  and  prop- 
erty, and  it  is  believed  that  ample  protection  will  be  afforded  him  by  due 
process  of  law,  without  resort  to  the  dangerous  expedient  of  '  military  tri- 
bunals,' now  that  the  war  has  been  brought  to  a  close.  The  necessity  no 
longer  existing  for  such  tribunals,  which  had  their  origin  in  the  war,  grave 
objections  to  their  continuance  must  present  themselves  to  the  minds  of  all 
reflecting  and  dispassionate  men.  Independently  of  the  danger  in  represen- 
tative republics  of  conferring  upon  the  military,  in  time  of  peace,  extraor- 
dinary powers — so  carefully  guarded  against  by  the  patriots  and  statesmen 
of  the  earlier  days  of  the  republic,  so  frequently  the  ruin  of  governments 
founded  upon  the  same  free  principle,  and  subversive  of  the  rights  and  lib- 
erties of  the  citizen — the  question  of  practical  economy  earnestly  commends 
itself  to  the  consideration  of  the  law-making  power.  With  an  immense 
debt  already  burdening  the  incomes  of  the  industrial  and  laboring  classes, 
a  due  regard  for  their  interests,  so  inseparably  connected  with  the  welfare 
of  the  country,  should  prompt  us  to  rigid  economy  and  retrenchment,  and 
influence  us  to  abstain  from  all  legislation  that  would  unnecessarily  increase 
the  public  indebtedness.  Tested  by  this  rule  of  sound  political  wisdom,  I 
can  see  no  reason  for  the  establishment  of  the  'military  jurisdiction'  con- 
ferred upon  the  officials  of  the  bureau  by  the  fourteenth  section  of  the  bill. 
"By  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  and  of  the  different  States,  competent 
courts,  Federal  and  State,  have  been  established,  and  are  now  in  full  prac- 


304         the  thirty-ninth  congress. 

tical  operation.  By  means  of  these  civil  tribunals  ample  redress  is  afforded 
for  all  private  wrongs,  whether  to  the  person  or  to  the  property  of  the  citi- 
zen, without  denial  or  unnecessary  delay.  They  are  open  to  all,  without 
regard  to  color  or  race.  I  feel  well  assured  that  it  will  be  better  to  trust 
the  rights,  privileges,  and  immunities  of  the  citizens  to  tribunals  thus  estab- 
lished, and  presided  over  by  competent  and  impartial  judges,  bound  by  fixed 
rules  of  law  and  evidence,  and  where  the  rights  of  trial  by  jury  is  guaran- 
teed and  secured,  than  to  the  caprice  and  judgment  of  an  officer  of  the 
bureau,  who,  it  is  possible,  may  be  entirely  ignorant  of  the  principles  that 
underlie  the  just  administration  of  the  law.  There  is  danger,  too,  that  con- 
flict of  jurisdiction  will  frequently  arise  between  the  civil  courts  and  these 
military  tribunals,  each  having  concurrent  jurisdiction  over  the  person  and 
the  cause  of  action — the  one  judicature  administered  and  controlled  by  civil 
law,  the  other  by  the  military.  How  is  the  conflict  to  be  settled,  and  who 
is  to  determine  between  the  two  tribunals  when  it  arises?  In  my  opinion 
it  is  wise  to  guard  against  such  conflict  by  leaving  to  the  courts  and  juries 
the  protection  of  all  civil  rights  and  the  redress  of  all  civil  grievances. 

"The  fact  can  not  be  denied  that  since  the  actual  cessation  of  hostili- 
ties many  acts  of  violence — such,  perhaps,  as  had  never  been  witnessed  in 
their  previous  history — have  occurred  in  the  States  involved  in  the  recent 
rebellion.  I  believe,  however,  that  public  sentiment  will  sustain  me  in  the 
assertion  that  such  deeds  of  wrong  are  not  confined  to  any  particular  State 
or  section,  but  are  manifested  over  the  entire  country — demonstrating  that 
the  cause  that  produced  them  does  not  depend  upon  any  particular  locality, 
but  is  the  result  of  the  agitation  and  derangement  incident  to  a  long  and 
bloody  civil  war.  While  the  prevalence  of  such  disorders  must  be  greatly 
deplored,  their  occasional  and  temporary  occurrence  would  seem  to  furnish 
no  necessity  for  the  extension  of  the  bureau  beyond  the  period  fixed  in  the 
original  act.  Besides  the  objections  which  I  have  thus  briefly  stated,  I  may 
urge  upon  your  consideration  the  additional  reason  that  recent  developments 
in  regard  to  the  practical  operations  of  the  bureau,  in  many  of  the  States, 
show  that  in  numerous  instances  it  is  used  by  its  agents  as  a  means  of  pro- 
moting their  individual  advantage,  and  that  the  freedmen  are  employed  for 
the  advancement  of  the  personal  ends  of  the  officers,  instead  of  their  own 
improvement  and  welfare — thus  confirming  the  fears  originally  entertained 
by  many  that  the  continuation  of  such  a  bureau  for  any  unnecessary  length 
of  time  would  inevitably  result  in  fraud,  corruption,  and  oppression. 

"It  is  proper  to  state  that  in  cases  of  this  character  investigations  Ijave 
been  promptly  ordered,  and  the  offender  punished,  whenever  his  guilt  has 
been  satisfactorily  established.  As  another  reason  against  the  necessity  of 
the  legislation  contemplated  by  this  measure,  reference  may  be  had  to  the 
'  Civil  Rights  Bill,'  now  a  law  of  the  land,  and  which  will  be  faithfully  exe- 
cuted as  long  as  it  shall  remain  unrepealed,  and  may  not  be  declared  un- 
constitutional by  courts  of  competent  jurisdiction.  By  that  act,  it  is  enacted 
'that  all  persons  born  in  the  United  States,  and  not  subject  to  any  foreign 
power,  excluding  Indians  not  taxed,  are  hereby  declared  to  be  citizens  of  the 
United  States ;  and  such  citizens,  of  every  race  and  color,  without  regard  to 
any  previous  condition  of  slavery  or  involuntary  servitude,  except  as  a  pun- 


THE  FREED  MEN.  805 

ishment  for  crime,  whereof  the  party  shall  have  been  duly  convicted,  shall 
have  the  same  right  in  every  State  and  Territory  of  the  United  States,  to 
make  and  enforce  contracts,  to  sue,  to  be  parties,  and  give  evidence,  to  in- 
herit, purchase,  lease,  sell,  hold,  and  convey  real  and  personal  property, 
and  to  full  and  equal  benefit  of  all  laws  and  proceedings  for  the  security 
of  person  and  property,  as  is  enjoyed  by  white  citizens,  and  shall  be  subject 
to  like  punishment,  pains,  and  penalties,  and  to  none  other,  any  law,  stat- 
ute, ordinance,  regulation,  or  custom  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding.' 

"By  the  provisions  of  the  act  full  protection  is  afforded,  through  the  dis- 
trict courts  of  the  United  States,  to  all  persons  injured,  and  whose  privi- 
leges, as  they  are  declared,  are  in  any  way  impaired,  and  heavy  penalties 
are  denounced  against  the  person  who  wilfully  violates  the  law.  I  need  not 
state  that  that  law  did  not  receive  my  approval,  yet  its  remedies  are  far  pref- 
erable to  those  proposed  in  the  present  bill — the  one  being  civil  and  the 
other  military. 

"By  the  sixth  section  of  the  bill  herewith  returned,  certain  proceedings 
by  which  the  lands  in  the  '  parishes  of  St.  Helena  and  St.  Luke,  South 
Carolina,'  were  sold  and  bid  in,  and  afterward  disposed  of  by  the  tax  com- 
missioners, are  ratified  and  confirmed.  By  the  seventh,  eighth,  ninth,  tenth, 
and  eleventh  sections,  provisions  by  law  are  made  for  the  disposal  of  the 
lands  thus  acquired  to  a  particular  class  of  citizens.  While  the  quieting  of 
titles  is  deemed  very  important  and  desirable,  the  discrimination  made  in 
the  bill  seems  objectionable,  as  does  also  the  attempt  to  confer  upon  the 
commissioners  judicial  powers,  by  which  citizens  of  the  United  States  are 
to  be  deprived  of  their  property  in  a  mode  contrary  to  that  provision  of 
the  Constitution  which  declares  that  no  person  '  shall  be  deprived  of  life, 
liberty,  or  property,  without  due  process  of  law.'  As  a  general  principle, 
such  legislation  is  unsafe,  unwise,  partial,  and  unconstitutional.  It  may 
deprive  persons  of  their  property  who  are  equally  deserving  objects  of  the 
nation's  bounty,  as  those  whom,  by  this  legislation,  Congress  seeks  to  ben- 
efit. The  title  to  the  land  thus  to  be  proportioned  out  to  a  favored  class  of 
citizens  must  depend  upon  the  regularity  of  the  tax  sale  under  the  law  as 
it  existed  at  the  time  of  the  sale,  and  no  subsequent  legislation  can  give 
validity  to  the  rights  thus  acquired  against  the  original  claimants.  The 
attention  of  Congress  is  therefore  invited  to  a  more  mature  consideration 
of  the  measures  proposed  in  these  sections  of  the  bill. 

"In  conclusion,  I  again  urge  upon  Congress  the  danger  of  class  legisla- 
tion, so  well  calculated  to  keep  the  public  mind  in  a  state  of  uncertain  ex- 
pectation, disquiet,  and  restlessness,  and  to  encourage  interested  hopes  and 
fears  that  the  National  Government  will  continue  to  furnish  to  classes  of 
citizens,  in  the  several  States,  means  for  support  and  maintenance,  regard- 
less of  whether  they  pursue  a  life  of  indolence  or  labor,  and  regardless,  also, 
of  the  constitutional  limitations  of  the  national  authority  in  times  of  peace 
and  tranquillity. 

"  The  bill  is  herewith  returned  to  the  House  of  Representatives,  in  which 
it  originated,  for  its  final  action. 


"ANDREW  JOHNSON. 


"Washington,  D.  C,  July  16,  1866." 

20 


306  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

As  soon  as  the  reading  of  this  document  had  been  completed, 
a  motion  was  passed  that  it  should  be  laid  on  the  table  and  printed. 
Notice  was  given  that  it  would  be  called  up  for  the  action  of  the 
House  on  the  following  day.  Mr.  Le  Blond,  a  Democrat,  sug- 
gested that  it  would  be  too  long  to  wait  until  to-morrow  to  pass 
it  over  the  veto,  and  without  debate.  The  sooner  action  was 
taken,  the  more  apparent  would  be  the  bad  animus. 

"  I  have  no  objection,"  said  Mr.  Eliot,  taking  him  at  his  word. 
Others  said,  "  There  is  no  objection,"  whereupon  the  vote  was  re- 
considered by  which  the  matter  was  postponed. 

The  motion  to  reconsider  the  postponement  was  carried,  and 
the  previous  question  called,  "  Shall  this  bill  become  a  law,  the 
objections  of  the  President  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding?" 

"I  do  not  see  why  we  need  be  in  such  a  hurry,"  said  Mr. 
Rogers. 

"  One  of  your  own  side  suggested  that  the  vote  better  be  taken 
now,"  replied  Mr.  Ashley. 

"Well,  he  was  not  in  earnest,  of  course,"  said  Mr.  Rogers, 
creating  some  mirth  by  the  remark. 

"  I  hope  the  gentleman  will  make  no  objection,"  said  Mr. 
Le  Blond,  addressing  his  remark  to  Mr.  Rogers. 

Mr.  Ward  suggested  that  "  the  Democrats  should  choose  their 
leader,  and  not  confuse  us  in  this  way." 

Without  further  parley,  the  vote  was  one  hundred  and  four  in 
the  affirmative,  thirty -three  in  the  negative,  and  forty-five  "not 
voting."  The  Speaker  then  announced,  "Two-thirds  having 
voted  in  the  affirmative,  the  bill  has,  notwithstanding  the  objec- 
tions of  the  President,  again  passed." 

The  Clerk  of  the  House  of  Representatives  immediately  an- 
nounced the  action  of  that  body  to  the  Senate.  Other  business 
was  at  once  laid  aside,  and  the  Veto  Message  was  read  in  the 
Senate. 

Mr.  Hendricks  and  Mr.  Saulsbury  then  addressed  the  Senate 
in  support  of  the  position  of  the  President.  The  question  b'eing 
taken,  thirty-three  voted  for  and  twelve  against  the  bill.  There- 
upon the  President  pro  tempore,  announced,  "  Two-thirds  of  this 
body  have  passed  the  bill,  and  it  having  been  certified  that  two- 
thirds  of  the  House  of  Representatives  have  voted  for  this  bill, 
I  now  pronounce  that  this  bill  has  become  a  law." 


I    C   INGER30LL, 

,cJRESE"NTATIVE  FROM  ILLINOIS 


RECONSTRUCTION.  307 


CHAPTER   XIII. 

FIRST  WORDS  ON  RECONSTRUCTION. 

Responsibility  of  the  Republican  Party— Its  Power  and  Position— In- 
itiatory Step— Mr.  Stevens  steaks  for  IIimself— Condition  of  the  Reb- 
el States— Constitutional  Authority  under  which  Congress  should  act 
—Estoppel— What  constitutes  Congress— The  First  Duty— Basis  of 
Representation— Duty  on  Exports— Two  important  Principles— Mr. 
Raymond's  Theory— Rebel  States  still  in  the  Union— Consequences 
of  the  Radical  Theory  — Conditions  to  be  required  —  State  Sover- 
eignty—Rebel Debt  — Prohibition  of  Slavery— Two  Policies  con- 
trasted—Reply  of  Mr.  Jenckes— Difference  in  Terms,  not  in  Substance 
—Logic  of  the  Conservatives  leads  to  the  Results  of  the  Radicals. 

HAYING  traced  the  progress  through  Congress  of  the  great 
measures  relating  to  civil  rights  and  protection  of  the 
freedmen,  it  is  now  proper  to  go  back  to  an  earlier  period 
in  this  legislative  history,  and  trace  what  was  said  and  done  upon 
a  subject  which,  more  than  any  other,  awakened  the  interest  and 
solicitude  of  the  American  people— the  subject  of  Reconstruction. 

The  Kepublican  party  had  a  majority  of  more  than  one  hun- 
dred in  the  House,  and  after  all  its  losses,  retained  more  than  two 
thirds  of  the  Senate.  As  a  consequence  of  this  great  preponder- 
ance of  power,  the  party  possessing  it  was  justly  held  responsible 
for  the  manner  in  which  the  country  should  pass  the  important 
political  crisis  consequent  upon  the  termination  of  the  war  in  the 
overthrow  of  the  rebellion. 

It  became  an  important  question  for  members  of  the  Republi- 
can party  in  Congress  to  determine  among  themselves  what  line 
of  policy  they  should  pursue. 

The  appointment  of  the  Joint  Committee  of  Fifteen  on  Recon- 
struction, was  every-where  regarded  by  the  constituents  of  the 
majority  as  a  most  happy  initiatory  step.  The  whole  country 
listened  with  eagerness  to  hear  what  words  would  be  spoken  in 


SO 8  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

Congress  to  give  some  clue  to  the  course  the  committee  would 
recommend.  Words  of  no  uncertain  significance  and  weight  were 
uttered  at  an  early  period  in  the  session. 

On  the  18th  of  December,  a  fortnight  after  the  opening  of  the 
session,  Mr.  Stevens  announced  his  opinions  on  reconstruction 
with  great  boldness  and  distinctness.  At  the  same  time,  seeing 
himself  much  in  advance  of  many  of  his  party,  and  fearing  lest 
his  opinions  might  alarm  the  less  resolute,  he  declared :  "  I  do  not 
profess  to  speak  their  sentiments,  nor  must  they  be  held  respon- 
sible for  them." 

Mr.  Steveus  opened  his  speech  with  remarks  on  the  condition 
of  the  rebel  States.  He  said  :  "  The  President  assumes,  what  no 
one  doubts,  that  the  late  rebel  States  have  lost  their  constitutional 
relations  to  the  Union,  and  are  incapable  of  representation  in 
Congress,  except  by  permission  of  the  Government.  It  matters 
but  little,  with  this  admission,  whether  you  call  them  States  out 
of  the  Union,  and  now  conquered  territories,  or  assert  that  be- 
cause the  Constitution  forbids  them  to  do  what  they  did  do,  that 
they  are,  therefore,  only  dead  as  to  all  national  and  political  action, 
and  will  remain  so  until  the  Government  shall  breathe  into  them 
the  breath  of  life  anew  and  permit  them  to  occupy  their  former 
position.  In  other  words,  that  they  are  not  out  of  the  Union, 
but  are  only  dead  carcasses  lying  within  the  Union.  In  either 
case,  it  is  very  plain  that  it  requires  the  action  of  Congress  to 
enable  them  to  form  a  State  government  and  send  Representatives 
to  Congress.  Nobody,  I  believe,  pretends  that  with  their  old 
constitutions  and  frames  of  government  they  can  be  permitted  to 
claim  their  old  rights  under  the  Constitution.  They  have  torn 
their  constitutional  States  into  atoms,  and  built  on  their  founda- 
tions fabrics  of  a  totally  different  character.  Dead  men  can  not 
raise  themselves.  Dead  States  can  not  restore  their  own  existence 
'  as  it  was.'  Whose  especial  duty  is  it  to  do  it  ?  In  whom  does 
the  Constitution  place  the  power?  Not  in  the  judicial  branch 
of  Government,  for  it  only  adjudicates  and  does  not  prescribe 
laws.  Not  in  the  Executive,  for  he  only  executes  and  can  not 
make  laws.  Not  in  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  armies,  for 
he  can  only  hold  them  under  military  rule  until  the  sovereign 
legislative  power  of  the  conqueror  shall  give  them  law. 

"There  is  fortunately  no  difficulty  in  solving  the  question. 
There  are  two  provisions  in  the  Constitution,  under  one  of  which 


RECONSTR  UCTION.  3  09 

the  case  must  fall.  The  fourth  article  says  :  '  New  States  may  be 
admitted  by  the  Congress  into  this  Union.'  In  my  judgment, 
this  is  the  controlling  provision  in  this  case.  Unless  the  law 
of  nations  is  a  dead  letter,  the  late  war  between  two  acknowl- 
edged belligerents  severed  their  original  compacts,  and  broke  all 
the  ties  that  bound  them  together.  The  future  condition  of  the 
conquered  power  depends  on  the  will  of  the  conqueror.  They 
must  wine  in  as  new  States  or  remain  as  conquered  provinces. 
Congress — the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives,  with  the 
concurrence  of  the  President — is  the  only  power  that  can  act  in 
the  matter.  But  suppose,  as  some  dreaming  theorists  imagine, 
that  these  States  have  never  been  out  of  the  Union,  but  have 
only  destroyed  their  State  governments  so  as  to  be  incapable  of 
political  action,  then  the  fourth  section  of  the  fourth  article  ap- 
plies, which  says,  'The  United  States  shall  guarantee  to  every 
State  iii  this  Union  a  republican  form  of  government.'  Who  is 
the  United  States?  Not  the  judiciary;  not  the  President;  but 
the  sovereign  power  of  the  people,  exercised  through  their  Repre- 
sentatives in  Congress,  with  the  concurrence  of  the  Executive. 
It  means  the  political  Government — the  concurrent  action  of  both 
branches  of  Congress  and  the  Executive.  The  separate  action  of 
each  amounts  to  nothing  either  in  admitting  new  States  or  guar- 
anteeing republican  governments  to  lapsed  or  outlawed  States. 
Whence  springs  the  preposterous  idea  that  either  the  President, 
or  tin'  Senate,  or  the  House  of  Representatives,  acting  separately, 
can  determine  the  right  of  States  to  send  members  or  Senators  to 
the  Congress  of  the  Union  ?  " 

Mr.  Stevens  then  cited  authorities  to  prove  that  "if  the  so- 
called  Confederate  States  of  America  were  an  independent  bellig- 
erent, and  were  so  acknowledged  by  the  United  States  and  by 
Europe,  or  had  assumed  and  maintained  an  attitude  which  en- 
titled them  to  be  considered  and  treated  as  a  belligerent,  then, 
during  such  time,  they  were  precisely  in  the  condition  of  a  foreign 
nation  with  whom  we  were  at  war;  nor  need  their  independence 
as  a  nation  be  acknowledged  by  us  to  produce  that  effect." 

Having  read  from  a  number  of  authorities  to  support  his  j)Osi- 
tion,  Mr.  Stevens  continued:  "After  such  clear  and  repeated 
decisions,  it  is  something  worse  than  ridiculous  to  hear  men  of 
respectable  standing  attempting  to  nullify  the  law  of  nations,  and 
declare  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  in  error,  because, 


810  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

as  the  Constitution  forbids  it,  the  States  could  not  go  out  of  the 
Union  in  fact.  A  respectable  gentleman  was  lately  reciting  this 
argument,  when  he  suddenly  stopped  and  said :  '  Did  you  hear  of 
that  atrocious  murder  committed  in  our  town?  A  rebel  delibe- 
rately murdered  a  Government  official.'  The  person  addressed 
said,  '  I  think  you  are  mistaken.'  '  How  so  ?  I  saw  it  myself.' 
( You  are  wrong ;  no  murder  was  or  could  be  committed,  for  the 
law  forbids  it.' 

"  The  theory  that  the  rebel  States,  for  four  years  a  separate 
power  and  without  representation  in  Congress,  were  all  the  time 
here  in  the  Union,  is  a  good  deal  less  ingenious  and  respectable 
than  the  metaphysics  of  Berkeley,  which  proved  that  neither  the 
world  nor  any  human  being  was  in  existence.  If  this  theory 
were  simply  ridiculous  it  could  be  forgiven;  but  its  effect  is 
deeply  injurious  to  the  stability  of  the  nation.  I  can  not  doubt 
that  the  late  Confederate  States  are  out  of  the  Union  to  all  in- 
tents and  purposes  for  which  the  conqueror  may  choose  so  to  con- 
sider them. 

Mr.  Stevens  further  maintained  that  the  rebel  States  should  be 
adjudged  out  of  the  Union  on  the  ground  of  estoppel.  "  They 
are  estopped,"  said  he,  "  both  by  matter  of  record  and  matter 
in  pais.  One  of  the  first  resolutions  passed  by  seceded  South 
Carolina  in  January,  1861,  is  as  follows: 

"  Resolved,  unanimously,  That  the  separation  of  South  Carolina  from  the 
Federal  Union  is  final,  and  she  has  no  further  interest  in  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States;  and  that  the  only  appropriate  negotiations  between 
her  and  the  Federal  Government  are  as  to  their  mutual  relations  as  foreign 
States." 

"  Similar  resolutions  appear  upon  all  their  State  and  Confed- 
erate Government  records.  The  speeches  of  their  members  of 
Congress,  their  generals  and  executive  officers,  and  the  answers 
of  their  Government  to  our  shameful  suings  for  peace,  went  upon 
the  defiant  ground  that  no  terms  would  be  offered  or  received 
except  upon  the  prior  acknowledgment  of  the  entire  and  per- 
manent independence  of  the  Confederate  States.  After  this,  to 
deny  that  we  have  a  right  to  treat  them  as  a  conquered  bellig- 
erent, severed  from  the  Union  in  fact,  is  not  argument  but  mock- 
ery. Whether  it  be  our  interest  to  do  so  is  the  only  question 
hereafter  and  more  deliberately  to  be  considered. 

"  But  suppose  these  powerful  but  now  subdued  belligerents,  in- 


RECONSTRUCTION.  811 

stead  of  being  out  of  the  Union,  are  merely  destroyed,  and  are 
now  lying  about,  a  dead  corpse,  or  with  animation  so  suspended 
as  to  be  incapable  of  action,  and  wholly  unable  to  heal  them- 
selves by  any  unaided  movements  of  their  own.  Then  they  may 
fall  under  the  provision  of  the  Constitution  which  says,  "the 
United  States  shall  guarantee  to  every  State  in  the  Union  a  re- 
publican form  of  government."  Under  that  power,  can  the  judi- 
ciary, or  the  President,  or  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  army, 
or  the  Senate  or  House  of  Representatives,  acting  separately, 
restore  them  to  life  and  readmit  them  into  the  Union  ?  I  insist 
that  if  each  acted  separately,  though  the  action  of  each  was  iden- 
tical with  all  the  others,  it  would  amount  to  nothing.  Nothing 
but  the  joint  action  of  the  two  houses  of  Congress  and  the  con- 
currence of  the  President  could  do  it.  If  the  Senate  admitted 
their  Senators,  and  the  House  their  members,  it  would  have  no 
effect  on  the  future  action  of  Congress.  The  Fortieth  Congress 
might  reject  both.  Such  is  the  ragged  record  of  Congress  for 
the  last  four  years." 

He  cited  a  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  to  show  that  "  it 
rests  with  Congress  to  decide  what  government  is  the  established 
one  in  a  State,"  and  then  remarked:  "But  Congress  does  not 
mean  the  Senate,  or  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  President, 
all  acting  severally.  Their  joint  action  constitutes  Congress. 
Hence  a  law  of  Congress  must  be  passed  before  any  new  State 
can  be  admitted  or  any  dead  ones  revived.  Until  then,  no  mem- 
ber can  be 'lawfully  admitted  into  either  house.  Hence,  it  ap- 
pears with  how  little  knowledge  of  constitutional  law  each  branch 
is  urged  to  admit  members  separately  from  these  destroyed 
States.  The  provision  that  "each  house  shall  be  the  judge  of 
the  elections,  returns,  and  qualifications  of  its  own  members," 
has  not  the  most  distant  bearing  on  this  question.  Congress 
must  create  States  and  declare  when  they  are  entitled  to  be  rep- 
resented. Then  each  house  must  judge  whether  the  members 
presenting  themselves  from  a  recognized  State  possesses  the  requi- 
site qualifications  of  age,  residence,  and  citizenship,  and  whether 
the  election  and  returns  are  according  to  law.  The  houses  sep- 
arately can  judge  of  nothing  else. 

"  It  is  obvious  from  all  this,  that  the  first  duty  of  Congress  is 
to  pass  a  law  declaring  the  condition  of  these  outside  or  defunct 
States,  and  providing  proper  civil  government  for  them.     Since 


312  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

the  conquest,  they  have  been  governed  by  martial  law.  Military 
rule  is  necessarily  despotic,  and  ought  not  to  exist  longer  than  is 
absolutely  necessary.  As  there  are  no  symptoms  that  the  people 
of  these  provinces  will  be  prepared  to  participate  in  constitutional 
government  for  some  years,  I  know  of  no  arrangement  so  proper 
for  them  as  territorial  government.  There  they  can  learn  the 
principles  of  freedom  and  eat  the  fruit  of  foul  rebellion.  Under 
such  governments,  while  electing  members  to  the  territorial  leg- 
islatures, they  will  necessarily  mingle  with  those  to  whom  Con- 
gress shall  extend  the  right  of  suffrage.  In  territories  Congress 
fixes  the  qualifications  of  electors,  and  I  know  of  no  better 
place  nor  better  occasion  for  the  conquered  rebels  and  the  con- 
queror to  practice  justice  to  all  men  and  accustom  themselves  to 
make  and  obey  equal  laws." 

Mr.  Stevens  proceeded  to  specify  amendments  to  the  Constitu- 
tion which  should  be  made  before  the  late  rebel  States  "  would  be 
capable  of  acting  in  the  Union."  The  first  of  those  amendments 
would  be  to  change  the  basis  of  representation  among  the  States 
from  federal  numbers  to  actual  voters.  After  explaining  the 
operation  of  this  amendment,  he  depicted  the  consequences  of 
readmitting  the  Southern  States  without  this  guarantee.  "  With 
the  basis  unchanged,"  said  he,  "  the  eighty-three  Southern  mem- 
bers, with  the  Democrats  that  will  in  the  best  of  times  be  elected 
from  the  North,  will  always  give  them  the  majority  in  Congress 
and  in  the  Electoral  College.  They  will,  at  the  very  first  elec- 
tion, take  possession  of  the  White  House  and  the  halls  of  Con- 
gress. I  need  not  depict  the  ruin  that  would  follow.  Assump- 
tion of  the  rebel  debt  or  repudiation  of  the  Federal  debt  would 
be  sure  to  follow ;  the  oppression  of  the  freedmen,  the  reamend- 
ment  of  their  State  constitutions,  and  the  reestablishment  of 
slavery  Avould  be  the  inevitable  result." 

Mr.  Stevens  thus  set  forth  the  importance  of  a  proposed  amend- 
ment to  allow  Congress  to  lay  a  duty  on  exports :  "  Its  impor- 
tance can  not  well  be  overstated.  It  is  very  obvious  that  for 
many  years  the  South  will  not  pay  much  under  our  internal  rev- 
enue laws.  The  only  article  on  which  we  can  raise  any  consid- 
erable amount  is  cotton.  It  will  be  grown  largely  at  once.  With 
ten  cents  a  pound  export  duty,  it  would  be  furnished  cheaper  to 
foreign  markets  than  they  could  obtain  it  from  any  other  part 
of  the  world.     The  late  war  has  shown  that.     Two  million  bales 


RECONSTRUCTION.  8*13 

exported,  at  five  hundred  pounds  to  the  bale,  would  yield  $100,- 
000,000.  This  seems  to  be  the  chief  revenue  we  shall  ever  derive 
from  the  South.  Besides,  it  would  be  a  protection  to  that  amount 
to  our  domestic  manufactures.  Other  proposed  amendments — to 
make  all  laws  uniform,  to  prohibit  the  assumption  of  the  rebel 
debt — are  of  vital  importance,  and  the  only  thing  that  can  pre- 
vent the  combined  forces  of  copperheads  and  secessionists  from 
legislating  against  the  interests  of  the  Union  whenever  they  may 
obtain  an  accidental  majority. 

"  But  this  is  not  all  that  we  ought  to  do  before  these  inveterate 
rebels  are  invited  to  participate  in  our  legislation.  We  have 
turned,  or  are  about  to  turn,  loose  four  million  slaves,  without  a 
hut  to  shelter  them  or  a  cent  in  their  pockets.  The  infernal 
laws  of  slavery  have  prevented  them  from  acquiring  an  education, 
understanding  the  commonest  laws  of  contract,  or  of  managing 
the  ordinary  business  of  life.  This  Congress  is  bound  to  provide 
for  them  until  they  can  take  care  of  themselves.  If  we  do  not 
furnish  them  with  homesteads,  and  hedge  them  around  with  pro- 
tective laws;  if  we  leave  them  to  the  legislation  of  their  late 
masters,  we  had  better  have  left  them  in  bondage.  Their  condi- 
tion would  be  worse  than  that  of  our  prisoners  at  Andersonville. 
If  we  fail  in  this  great  duty  now,  when  we  have  the  power,  we 
shall  deserve  and  receive  the  execration  of  history  and  of  all 
future  ages. 

"Two  things  are  of  vital  importance:  1.  So  to  establish  a 
principle  that  none  of  the  rebel  States  shall  be  counted  in  any 
of  the  amendments  of  the  Constitution  until  they  are  duly  ad- 
mitted into  the  family  of  States  by  the  law-making  power  of  their 
conqueror.  For  more  than  six  months  the  amendment  of  the 
Constitution  abolishing  slavery  has  been  ratified  by  the  Legisla- 
tures of  three-fourths  of  the  States  that  acted  on  its  passage  by 
Congress,  and  which  had  Legislatures,  or  which  were  States  ca- 
pable of  acting,  or  required  to  act,  on  the  question. 

"  I  take  no  account  of  the  aggregation  of  whitewashed  rebels, 
who,  without  any  legal  authority,  have  assembled  in  the  capitals 
of  the  late  rebel  States  and  simulated  legislative  bodies.  Nor  do 
I  regard  with  any  respect  the  cunning  by-play  into  which  they 
deluded  the  Secretary  of  State  by  frequent  telegraphic  announce- 
ments that  '  South  Carolina  had  adopted  the  amendment/  '  Ala- 
bama has  adopted  the  amendment,  being  the  twenty-seventh  State/ 


314  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

etc.  This  was  intended  to  delude  the  people  and  accustom  Con- 
gress to  hear  repeated  the  names  of  these  extinct  States  as  if  they 
were  alive,  when,  in  truth,  they  have  now  no  more  existence  than 
the  revolted  cities  of  Latium,  two-thirds  of  whose  people  were 
colonized,  and  their  property  confiscated,  and  their  rights  of  citi- 
zenship withdrawn  by  conquering  and  avenging  Rome." 

A  second  thing  of  vital  importance  to  the  stability  of  this  re- 
public, Mr.  Stevens  asserted  to  be  "  that  it  should  now  be  sol- 
emnly decided  what  power  can  revive,  recreate,  and  reinstate  these 
provinces  into  the  family  of  States,  and  invest  them  with  the 
rights  of  American  citizens.  It  is  time  that  Congress  should 
assert  its  sovereignty,  and  assume  something  of  the  dignity  of  a 
Roman  senate.  It  is  fortunate  that  the  President  invites  Con- 
gress to  take  this  manly  attitude.  After  stating,  with  great 
frankness,  in  his  able  message,  his  theory — which,  however,  is 
found  to  be  impracticable,  and  which,  I  believe,  very  few  now 
consider  tenable — he  refers  the  whole  matter  to  the  judgment  of 
Congress.  If  Congress  should  fail  firmly  and  wisely  to  discharge 
that  high  duty,  it  is  not  the  fault  of  the  President." 

Mr.  Stevens  closed  his  speech  by  setting  the  seal  of  reprobation 
upon  a  doctrine  which  is  becoming  too  fashionable,  that  "  this  is 
a  white  man's  Government."  He  uttered  a  severe  rebuke  to 
those  who  thus  "  mislead  and  miseducate  the  public  mind." 

There  were  some  Republicans  in  Congress  who  disagreed  with 
Mr.  Stevens  in  his  theory  of  the  condition  of  the  late  rebel  States, 
yet  no  one  ventured  immediately,  to  use  a  contemporary  expression, 
"  to  take  the  Radical  bull  by  the  horns." 

At  length,  three  days  afterward,  Mr.  Raymond,  as  a  represent- 
ative of  the  "  Conservatives,"  ventured  a  reply.  He  thus  set 
forth  his  theory  as  in  opposition  to  that  of  Mr.  Stevens :  "  I  can 
not  believe  that  these  States  have  ever  been  out  of  the  Union,  or 
that  they  are  now  out  of  the  Union.  I  can  not  believe  that  they 
ever  have  been,  or  are  now,  in  any  sense  a  separate  power.  If 
they  were,  sir,  how  and  when  did  they  become  so?  They  were 
once  States  of  this  Union — that  every  one  concedes;  bound  to 
the  Union  and  made  members  of  the  Union  by  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States.  If  they  ever  went  out  of  the  Union,  it  was 
at  some  specific  time  and  by  some  specific  act.  Was  it  by  the 
ordinance  of  secession?  I  think  we  all  agree  that  an  ordinance 
of  secession  passed  by  any  State  of  this  Union  is  simply  a  nullity, 


RECONSTRUCTION.  315 

because  it  encounters  in  its  practical  operation  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States,  which  is  the  supreme  law  of  the  land.  It 
could  have  no  legal,  actual  force  or  validity.  It  could  not  oper- 
ate to  effect  any  actual  change  in  the  relations  of  the  States  adopt- 
ing it  to  the  National  Government,  still  less  to  accomplish  the 
removal  of  that  State  from  the  sovereign  jurisdiction  of  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States. 

"  Well,  sir,  did  the  resolutions  of  these  States,  the  declarations 
of  their  officials,  the  speeches  of  members  of  their  Legislatures, 
or  the  utterances  of  their  press  accomplish  the  result?  Certainly 
not.  They  could  not  possibly  work  any  change  whatever  in  the 
relations  of  these  States  to  the  General  Government.  All  their 
ordinances  and  all  their  resolutions  were  simply  declarations  of  a 
purpose  to  secede.  Their  secession,  if  it  ever  took  place,  certainly 
could  not  date  from  the  time  when  their  intention  to  secede  was 
first  announced.  After  declaring  that  intention,  they  proceeded 
to  carry  it  into  effect.  How?  By  war.  By  sustaining  their 
purpose  by  arms  against  the  force  which  the  United  States 
brought  to  bear  against  it.  Did  they  sustain  it?  Were  their 
arms  victorious  ?  If  they  were,  then  their  secession  was  an  ac- 
complished fact;  if  not,  it  was  nothing  more  than  an  abortive 
attempt,  a  purpose  unfulfilled.  This,  then,  is  simply  a  question 
of  fact,  and  we  all  know  what  the  fact  is.  They  did  not  succeed. 
They  failed  to  maintain  their  ground  by  force  of  arms ;  in  other 
words,  they  failed  to  secede. 

"  But  the  gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  [Mr.  Stevens]  insists 
that  they  did  secede,  and  that  this  fact  is  not  in  the  least  affected 
by  the  other  fact  that  the  Constitution  forbids  secession.  He  says 
that  the  law  forbids  murder,  but  that  murders  are,  nevertheless, 
committed.  But  there  is  no  analogy  between  the  two  cases.  If 
secession  had  been  accomplished ;  if  these  States  had  gone  out,  and 
overcome  the  armies  that  tried  to  prevent  their  going  out,  then 
the  prohibition  of  the  Constitution  could  not  have  altered  the  fact. 
In  the  case  of  murder  the  man  is  killed,  and  murder  is  thus  com- 
mitted in  spite  of  the  law.  The  fact  of  killing  is  essential  to  the 
committal  of  the  crime,  and  the  fact  of  going  out  is  essential  to 
secession.  But  in  this  case  there  was  no  such  fact.  I  think  I 
need  not  argue  any  further  the  position  that  the  rebel  States  have 
never  for  one  moment,  by  any  ordinances  of  secession,  or  by  any 
successful  war,  carried  themselves  beyond  the  rightful  jurisdiction 


316  THE  THIETT-JVIJVTH  CONGRESS. 

of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  They  have  interrupted 
for  a  time  the  practical  enforcement  and  exercise  of  that  jurisdic- 
tion ;  they  rendered  it  impossible  for  a  time  for  this  Government 
to  enforce  obedience  to  its  laws ;  but  there  has  never  been  an  hour 
when  this  Government,  or  this  Congress,  or  this  House,  or  the 
gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  himself,  ever  conceded  that  those 
States  were  beyond  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Constitution  and  laws 
of  the  United  States." 

Referring  to  the  citation  of  authorities  made  by  Mr.  Stevens, 
Mr.  Raymond  maintained  that  they  did  not  lend  the  "  slightest 
countenance  to  the  inference  which  was  drawn  from  them." 

In  reply  to  the  theory  maintained  by  Mr.  Stevens,  that  States 
forfeited  their  State  existence  by  the  fact  of  rebellion,  Mr.  Ray- 
mond said :  "  I  do  not  see  how  there  can  be  any  such  forfeiture 
involved  or  implied.  The  individual  citizens  of  those  States 
went  into  the  rebellion.  They  thereby  incurred  certain  penalties 
under  the  laws  and  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  What  the 
States  did  was  to  endeavor  to  interpose  their  State  authority 
between  the  individuals  in  rebellion  and  the  Government  of  the 
United  States,  which  assumed,  and  which  would  carry  out  the 
assumption,  to  declare  those  individuals  traitors  for  their  acts. 
The  individuals  in  the  States  who  were  in  rebellion,  it  seems  to 
me,  were  the  only  parties  who,  under  the  Constitution  and  laws 
of  the  United  States,  could  incur  the  penalties  of  treason.  I 
know  of  no  law,  I  know  of  nothing  in  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States,  I  know  of  nothing  in  any  recognized  or  established 
code  of  international  law,  which  can  punish  a  State  as  a  State 
for  any  act  it  may  perform.  It  is  certain  that  our  Constitution 
assumes  nothing  of  the  kind.  It  does  not  deal  with  States,  ex- 
cept in  one  or  two  instances,  such  as  elections  of  members  of 
Congress  and  the  election  of  electors  of  President  and  Vice- 
President. 

"Indeed,  the  main  feature  which  distinguishes  the  Union  un- 
der the  Constitution  from  the  old  Confederation  is  this :  that 
whereas  the  old  Confederation  did  deal  with  States  directly, 
making  requisitions  upon  them  for  supplies  and  relying  upon 
them  for  the  execution  of  its  laws,  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  in  order  to  form  a  more  perfect  Union,  made  its  laws 
binding  on  the  individual  citizens  of  the  several  States,  whether 
living  in  one  State  or  in  another.     Congress,  as  the  legislative 


RECONSTRUCTION.  317 

branch  of  this  Government,  enacts  a  law  which  shall  be  operative 
upon  every  individual  within  its  jurisdiction.  It  is  binding  upon 
each  individual  citizen,  and  if  he  resists  it  by  force,  he  is  guilty 
of  a  crime,  and  is  punished  accordingly,  any  thing  in  the  consti- 
tution or  laws  of  his  State  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding.  But 
the  States  themselves  are  not  touched  by  the  laws  of  the  United 
States  or  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  A  State  can 
not  be  indicted;  a  State  can  not  be  tried;  a  State  can  not  be 
hung  .for  treason.  The  individuals  in  a  State  may  be  so  tried 
and  hung,  but  the  State  as  an  organization,  as  an  organic  mem- 
ber of  the  Union,  still  exists,  whether  its  individual  citizens  com- 
mit treason  or  not." 

Mr.  Raymond  subsequently  cited  some  of  the  consequences 
which  he  thought  must  follow  the  acceptance  of  the  position  as- 
sumed by  Mr.  Stevens.  "  If,"  said  Mr.  Raymond,  "  as  he  asserts, 
we  have  been  waging  war  with  an  independent  Power,  with  a 
separate  nation,  I  can  not  see  how  we  can  talk  of  treason  in  con- 
nection with  our  recent  conflict,  or  demand  the  execution  of  Davis 
or  any  body  else  as  a  traitor.  Certainly  if  we  were  at  war  with 
any  other  foreign  Power,  we  should  not  talk  of  the  treason  of 
those  who  were  opposed  to  us  in  the  field.  If  we  were  engaged 
in  a  war  with  France,  and  should  take  as  prisoner  the  Emperor 
Napoleon,  certainly  we  could  not  talk  of  him  as  a  traitor  or  as 
liable  to  execution.  I  think  that  by  adopting  any  such  assump- 
tion as  that  of  the  honorable  gentleman,  we  surrender  the  whole 
idea  of  treason  and  the  punishment  of  traitors.  I  think,  more- 
over, that  we  accept,  virtually  and  practically,  the  doctrine  of 
State  sovereignty,  the  right  of  a  State  to  withdraw  from  the 
Union,  and  to  break  up  the  Union  at  its  own  will  and  pleasure. 

"  Another  of  the  consequences  of  this  doctrine,  as  it  seems  to 
me,  would  be  our  inability  to  talk  of  loyal  men  in  the  South. 
Loyal  to  what?  Loyal  to  a  foreign,  independent  Power,  as  the 
United  States  would  become  under  those  circumstances?  Cer- 
tainly not.  Simply  disloyal  to  their  own  Government,  and  'de- 
serters, or  whatever  you  may  choose  to  call  them,  from  that  to 
which  they  would  owe  allegiance,  to  a  foreign  and  independent 
State. 

"Now,  there  is  another  consequence  of  the  doctrine  which  I 
shall  not  dwell  upon,  but  simply  suggest.  If  that  confederacy 
was  an  independent  Power,  a  separate  nation,  it  had  the  right  to 


318  THE  THIETT-JVIJVTH  CONGRESS. 

contract  debts;  and  we,  having  overthrown  and  conquered  that 
independent  Power,  according  to  the  theory  of  the  gentleman 
from.  Pennsylvania,  would  become  the  successors,  the  inheritors, 
of  its  debts  and  assets,  and  we  must  pay  them." 

Mr.  Raymond  set  forth  his*  theory  of  the  conditions  and  rela- 
tions of  the  late  rebel  States  in  the  following  language :  "  I  cer- 
tainly do  not  think  these  States  are  to  be  dealt  with  by  us  as 
provinces — as  simply  so  much  territory — held  to  us  by  no  other 
ties  than  those  of  conquest.  I  think  we  are  to  deal  with  them  as 
States  having  State  governments,  still  subject  to  the  jurisdiction 
of  the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  United  States,  still  under  the 
constitutional  control  of  the  National  Government;  and  that  in 
our  dealings  with  them  we  are  to  be  guided  and  governed,  not 
simply  by  our  sovereign  will  and  pleasure  as  conquerors,  but  by 
the  restrictions  and  limitations  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  precisely  as  we  are  restrained  and  limited  in  our  dealings 
with  all  other  States  of  the  American  Union." 

In  answer  to  the  question  how  we  are  to  deal  with  the  late 
rebel  States,  Mr.  Raymond  remarked :  "  I  think  we  have  a  full 
and  perfect  right  to  require  certain  conditions  in  the  nature  of 
guarantees  for  the  future,  and  that  right  rests,  primarily  and 
technically,  on  the  surrender  we  may  and  must  require  at  their 
hands.  The  rebellion  has  been  defeated.  A  defeat  always  im- 
plies a  surrender,  and,  in  a  political  sense,  a  surrender  implies 
more  than  the  transfer  of  the  arms  used  on  the  field  of  battle. 
It  implies,  in  the  case  of  civil  war,  a  surrender  of  the  principles 
and  doctrines,  of  all  the  weapons  and  agencies,  by  which  the  war 
has  been  carried  on.  The  military  surrender  was  made  on  the 
field  of  battle,  to  our  generals,  as  the  agents  and  representatives  of 
the  Commander-in-chief  of  the  armies  of  the  United  States. 

"  Now,  there  must  be  at  the  end  of  the  war,  a  similar  surrender 
on  the  political  field  of  controversy.  That  surrender  is  due  as  an 
act  of  justice  from  the  defeated  party  to  the  victorious  party.  It 
is  due,  also,  and  we  have  a  right  to  exact  it,  as  a.  guarantee  for 
the  future.  "Why  do  we  demand  the  surrender  of  their  arms  by 
the  vanquished  in  every  battle?  We  do  it  that  they  may  not 
renew  the  contest.  Why  do  we  seek,  in  this  and  all  similar 
cases,  a  surrender  of  the  principles  for  which  they  fought?  It  is 
that  they  may  never  again  be  made  the  basis  of  controversy  and 
rebellion  against  the  Government  of  the  United  States. 


BECOJYSTEUCTIOJV.  319 

"Now,  what  are  those  principles  which  should  be  thus  sur- 
rendered ?  The  principle  of  State  sovereignty  is  one  of  them.  It 
was  the  corner-stone  of  the  rebellion — at  once  its  animating 
spirit  and  its  fundamental  basis.  Deeply  ingrained  as  it  was  in 
the  Southern  heart,  it  must  be  surrendered.  The  ordinances  in 
which  it  was  embodied  must  not  only  be  repealed,  the  principle 
itself  must  be  abandoned,  and  the  ordinances,  so  far  as  this  war 
is  concerned,  be  declared  null  and  void,  and  that  declaration  must 
be  embodied  in  their  fundamental  constitutions." 

The  speech  was  here  interrupted  by  Mr.  Bingham,  who  insisted 
that  the  adoption  of  the  principle  in  the  State  constitutions  would 
not  be  sufficient  guarantee.  Adoption  in  the  Constitution  of  the 
United  States  was  essential  to  its  permanent  effective  force. 

Mr.  Raymond  thought  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  as 
plain  as  possible  in  its  declaration  against  the  doctrine  of  State 
sovereignty.  If  any  more  explicit  denial  could  be  got  into  the 
Constitution,  he  would  favor  it. 

"  Another  thing,"  said  Mr.  Raymond,  "  to  be  surrendered  by 
the  defeated  rebellion  is  the  obligation  to  pay  the  rebel  war  debt. 
We  have  the  right  to  require  this  repudiation  of  their  debt, 
because  the  money  represented  by  that  debt  was  one  of  the 
weapons  with  which  they  carried  on  the  war  against  the  Govern- 
ment of  the  United  States. 

"  There  is  another  thing  which  we  have  the  right  to  require, 
and  that  is  the  prohibition  of  slavery.  We  have  the  right  to  re- 
quire them  to  do  this,  not  only  in  their  State  constitutions,  but  in 
the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  And  we  have  required  it, 
and  it  has  been  conceded.  They  have  also  conceded  that  Congress 
may  make  such  laws  as  may  be  requisite  to  carry  that  prohibition 
into  eifect,  which  includes  such  legislation  as  may  be  required  to 
secure  for  them  protection  of  their  civil  and  personal  rights — 
their  '  right  to  life,  liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness.' " 

Mr.  Spalding  having  inquired  whether  there  was  any  limit  to 
the  right  to  make  these  requisitions,  except  the  good  judgment  of 
Congress,  Mr.  Raymond  answered: 

"  My  impression  is  that  these  requisitions  are  made  as  a  part 
of  the  terms  of  surrender  which  we  have  a  right  to  demand  at  the 
hands  of  the  defeated  insurgents,  and  that  it  belongs,  therefore,  to 
the  President,  as  Commander-in-chief  of  the  army  and  navy  of 


320  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

* 

the  United  States,  to  make  theni,  and  to  fix  the  limit  as  to  what 
they  shall  embrace." 

By  way  of  setting  forth  the  opinions  of  the  "  Radicals "  in  as 
strong  a  light  as  possible,  Mr.  Raymond  said  :  "  It  may  be  for  the 
welfare  of  this  nation  that  we  shall  cherish  toward  the  millions 
of  our  people  lately  in  rebellion  feelings  of  hatred  and  distrust ; 
that  we  shall  nurse  the  bitterness  their  infamous  treason  has 
naturally  and  justly  engendered,  and  make  that  the  basis  of  our 
future  dealings  with  them.  Possibly  we  may  best  teach  them  the 
lessons  of  liberty,  by  visiting  upon  them  the  worst  excesses  of  des- 
potism. Possibly  they  may  best  learn  to  practice  justice  toward 
others,  to  admire  and  emulate  our  republican  institutions,  by  suf- 
fering at  our  hands  the  absolute  rule  we  denounce  in  others.  It 
may  be  best  for  us  and  for  them  that  we  discard,  in  all  our  deal- 
ings with  them,  all  the  obligations  and  requirements  of  the  Con- 
stitution, and  assert  as  the  only  law  for  them  the  unrestrained 
will  of  conquerors  and  masters." 

In  contrast  with  this,  he  placed  what  he  supposed  to  be  a  dif- 
ferent policy :  "  I  would  exact  from  them,  or  impose  upon  them 
through  the  constitutional  legislation  of  Congress,  and  by  enlarg- 
ing and  extending,  if  necessary,  the  scope  and  powers  of  the 
Freedmen's  Bureau,  proper  care  and  protection  for  the  helpless 
and  friendless  freedmen,  sp  lately  their  slaves.  I  would  exercise 
a  rigid  scrutiny  into  the  character  and  loyalty  of  the  men  whom 
they  may  send  to  Congress,  before  I  allowed  them  to  participate 
in  the  high  prerogative  of  legislating  for  the  nation.  But  I 
would  seek  to  allay  rather  than  stimulate  the  animosities  and 
hatred,  however  just  they  may  be,  to  which  the  war  has  given 
rise.  But  for  our  own  sake  as  well  as  for  theirs,  I  would  not 
visit  upon  them  a  policy  of  confiscation  which  has  been  discarded 
in  the  policy  and  practical  conduct  of  every  civilized  nation  on 
the  face  of  the  globe." 

Mr.  Raymond  having  closed  his  speech,  it  was  moved  that  the 
Committee  of  the  Whole  should  rise,  but  the  motion  was  with- 
drawn to  allow  Mr.  Jenckes,  of  Rhode  Island,  five  minutes  for 
reply.  He  said:  "The  gentleman  states,  and  properly,  that 
every  act  or  ordinance  of  secession  was  a  nullity.  Undoubtedly 
it  was.  Upon  that  question  of  law  we  do  not  disagree.  But  he 
seems  to  me  to  overlook  entirely  what  was  the  state  of  facts  from 
the  time  of  the  passage  of  the  ordinances  of  secession  until  the 


RECONSTRUCTION.  321 

time  of  the  surrender  of  Lee's  army.  During  that  period  what 
were  the  relations  which  all  that  territory  —  I  will  not  use  the 
term  States,  but  all  that  territory — between  the  Potomac  and  the 
Rio  Grande  sustained  to  the  Government  of  the  United  States? 
Who  could  see  States  there  for  any  purpose  for  which  legislation 
was  required  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  ? 

"  At  the  time  of  the  passage  of  the  ordinance  of  secession, 
States  were  organized  there,  in  existence,  in  action,  known  to  the 
Constitution  and  the  constitutional  authorities  under  it.  But 
were  they  loyal  ?  Did  they  obey  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  ?  This  is  a  question  that  needs  no  answer  other  than  that 
which  is  conveyed  to  every  mind  by  the  recollection  of  the  last 
four  years  of  war,  with  their  expenditure  of  treasure  and  blood. 
Those  States  were  not  destroyed,  in  the  technical  language  of  the 
jaw  —  they  simply  died  out.  As  their  Governors  passed  out  of 
office,  as  the  terms  of  their  legislatures  expired,  who  knew  those 
facts  ?  None  but  themselves.  And  yet,  behind  this  grand  cordon 
of  armies,  stretching  from  here  to  the  Eio  Grande,  there  were 
States  in  existence,  organized  as  States,  but  States  in  rebellion, 
occupying  the  territory  belonging  to  the  people  of  the  United 
States.  They  were  not  acting  in  concert  with  this  Government, 
but  against  it.  That,  Mr.  Chairman,  is  a  matter  of  fact.  My 
eyes  are  not  dimmed  or  blinded  by  the  parchment  upon  which 
constitutions  or  laws  are  written.  I,  like  the  men  who  carried 
the  bayonets  and  planted  the  cannon,  recognize  the  fact  that  was 
before  us  during  all  this  time.  There  was  a  state  of  rebellion. 
There  were  in  that  part  of  our  territory  no  States  known  to  our 
Constitution  or  the  laws  that  we  enact,  or  the  officers  whose  duty 
it  is  to  enforce  those  laws. 

"  I  recognize,  too,  the  next  fact.  Bear  in  mind,  I  am  simply 
stating  now  what  I  conceive  to  be  the  facts.  The  question  as  to 
what  may  be  the  law  can  be  reserved  for  discussion  on  another 
occasion.  I  recognize  fully  the  duties  of  the  Executive.  And  it 
was  the  duty  of  the  President  of  the  United  States,  as  the  head 
of  the  civil  and  military  power  of  this  great  republic— not  '  em- 
pire ;'  God  forbid  that  this  country  should  ever  be  so  designated 
with  applause  or  even  with  toleration— to  beat  down  armed  oppo- 
sition to  it,  whether  it  came  from  a  foreign  power  or  from  domes- 
tic insurrection.  That  was  the  duty  of  the  President,  and  he 
recognized  it;  and  it  was  not  the  duty  of  any  one  in  this  Con- 
21 


322  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

gress  to  gainsay  it.  It  was  written  on  the  face  of  the  Constitution 
that  the  President  was  to  see  that  the  laws  should  be  faithfully 
executed,  and   the  power  of  this  republic   maintained,  and  he 

did  so. 

"  The  next  fact — the  fact  which  seems  to  me  to  be  the  one  most 
pertinent  for  consideration  now — is  that  the  military  power  which 
was  opposed  to  this  Government  has  been  destroyed.  It  was  the 
duty  of  the  Executive  to  see  that  this  was  done,  and  to  report  to 
the  Congress  of  the  United  States  that  it  has  been  done.  But 
what  then?  Then  there  comes  the  third  question  of  fact,  inti- 
mately connected  with  the  last,  and  hardly  separable  from  it,  be- 
cause it  requires  the  immediate  action  of  the  Executive  and  of 
Congress.  All  the  power  that  existed  in  the  shape  of  Confede- 
rated States  behind  rebel  bayonets  and  fortifications  has  fallen  to 
the  earth.  The  territory  which  these  States  in  rebellion  occu- 
pied was  the  property  of  the  people  of  the  United  States,  and 
never  could  be  taken  from  us.  I  hold  it  to  be  a  question  of  pub- 
lic law,  worthy  of  consideration  by  the  representatives  of  the 
American  people,  by  the  President  and  the  Administration  gene- 
rally, to  ascertain  what  existed  in  the  shape  of  civil  constitutions 
and  laws  behind  the  military  government  that  has  been  over- 
thrown. I  hesitate  not  to  say,  here  or  elsewhere,  that  the  Exec- 
utive of  this  Government  has  done  his  duty  in  this  matter.  All 
conquering  nations,  when  they  overcome  a  rebellious  people  by 
overthrowing  their  military  power,  look,  as  did  the  Government 
of  Great  Britain  when  it  had  overcome  the  mutiny  in  India,  to 
see  what  government  of  a  civil  kind  has  existed  or  may  exist 
from  custom  among  the  people  who  are  conquered.  I  see  no 
reason  in  this  view  to  discriminate  between  the  argument  of  the 
gentleman  from  Pennsylvania  and  the  argument  of  the  gentle- 
man from  New  York.  It  seems  to  me,  that  if  they  will  look  at 
the  particular  questions  which  are  now  before  us,  and  which 
require  our  action,  the  differences  would  be  in  terms  and  not  in 
substance." 

The  people  of  the  predominant  party  generally  acquiesced  in 
the  opinion  of  Mr.  Jenckes,  as  expressed  in  the  conclusion  of  his 
remarks  as  above  presented.  They  conceived  that  the  difference 
between  the  various  views  of  the  whole  question  was  "  one  of  de- 
tails and  not  of  essence."  The  question  of  reconstruction  was 
purely  practical.     All  shades  of  opinion  in  the  Republican  party 


RECONSTRUCTION.  223 

blended  in  this :  that  the  States  in  question  were  not  to  be  restored 
until  satisfactory  pledges  were  given  to  the  United  States.  All 
speculation  or  attempt  at  argument  in  reference  to  their  abstract 
condition  was  consequently  superfluous — "  a  pernicious  abstrac- 
tion^'  in  the  language  of  Mr.  Lincoln. 

If  some  were  not  prepared  to  accept  the  deductions  of  Mr.  Ste- 
vens, yet  accepting  the  logic  of  Mr.  Raymond,  they  would  be 
carried  almost  as  far.  The  latter  held  that  the  citizens  of  those 
States  were  defeated  insurgents  who  must  submit  to  any  condi- 
tions of  surrender  imposed  by  the  victorious  commander.  Certain 
concessions  could  be  rightfully  demanded  as  parts  of  their  sur- 
render and  conditions  of  their  restoration.  Their  acquiescence 
had  been  required  in  a  constitutional  amendment  affecting  the 
great  social  and  industrial  interests  of  Southern  society.  After 
this  none  could  deny  the  right,  whatever  might  be  the  expediency, 
of  requiring  their  assent  to  other  amendments  bearing  upon  the 
political  structure  of  the  Southern  States. 

Some  of  the  predominant  party  were  willing  to  stop  short  in 
their  demands  upon  the  rebel  States  with  requiring  acceptance  of 
the  emancipation  amendment,  repudiation  of  the  rebel  debt,  legal 
protection  of  freedmen,  and  revocation  of  the  ordinances  of  seces- 
sion. The  majority,  however,  were  disposed  to  go  still  further, 
and  demand  other  conditions  and  guarantees  which  should  be- 
come a  part  of  the  fundamental  law  of  the  land.  This  was  the 
practical  work  of  reconstruction  for  which  the  Joint  Committee 
of  Fifteen  was  preparing  the  way,  and  upon  which  Congress  was 
soon  to  enter. 


S%4  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 


CHAPTER    XIV.     . 

THE  BASIS  OF  REPRESENTATION— IN  THE  HOUSE. 

First  work  of  the  Joint  Committee — The  joint  resolution  proposing  a 

CONSTITUTIONAL   AMENDMENT — Mr.   STEVENS'   REASONS  FOR  SPEEDY  ACTION — 

Protracted  discussion  commenced  —  Objections  to  the  bill  by  Mr. 
Eogers — Defense  by  Mr.  Conkling— Two  other  modes — How  States 
might  evade  the  Law — Not  a  finality — Wisconsin  and  South  Caro- 
lina— Amendment  for  Female  Suffrage  proposed — Orth  on  Indiana 
and  Massachusetts — Obscuration  of-  the  sun — More  Kadical  remedy 

DESIRED— A  KENTUCKIAN  GRATIFIED— CITATIONS  FROM  THE  CENSUS — PRE- 
MIUM for  Treason— White  Slaves — Power  to  amend  well-nigh  ex- 
hausted— Objections  to  the  Suffrage  Basis — "Race"  and  "Color"  am- 
biguous— Condition  of  the  Question — PvEcommitted — Final  passage. 

ALTHOUGH  the  Joint  Committee  of  Fifteen  were  assiduous 
in  their  attention  to  the  work  assigned  them,  it  was  not 
until  the  22d  of  January,  1866,  that  they  were  ready  to 
make  a  partial  report  and  recommend  a  practical  measure  for  the 
consideration  of  Congress. 

On  that  day  Mr.  Fessenden,  of  the  Senate,  and  Mr.  Stevens, 
of  the  House  of  Representatives,  brought  before  those  bodies  re- 
spectively a  partial  report  from  the  committee,  recommending  the 
passage  of  the  following  joint  resolution : 

Resolved  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States  of 
America  in  Congress  asse?nbled,  (two-thirds  of  both  houses  concurring,)  That 
the  following  article  be  proposed  to  the  Legislatures  of  the  several  States  as 
an  amendment  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  which,  when  ratified 
by  three-fourths  of  the  said  Legislatures,  shall  be  valid  as  part  of  said  Con- 
stitution, namely : 

Article  — .  Representatives  and  direct  taxes  shall  be  apportioned  among 
the  several  States  which  may  be  included  within  this  Union  according  to 
their  respective  numbers,  counting  the  whole  number  of  persons  in  each 
State,  excluding  Indians  not  taxed:  Provided,  That  whenever  the  elective 
franchise  shall  be  denied  or  abridged  in  any  State  on  account  of  race  or 
color,  all  persons  of  such  race  or  color  shall  be  excluded  from  the  basis  of 
representation. 


BdSIS  OF  REPRESENTATION.  325 

In  the  Senate  this  subject  was  laid  over,  and  was  not  reached 
for  several  days,  as  the  Freednien's  Bureau  Bill  was  then  under 
discussion. 

The  subject  was  pressed  upon  the  attention  of  the  House  for 
immediate  action.  Mr.  Stevens  had  no  intention  to  make  a 
speech,  since  the> question  had  been  under  consideration  by  every 
member  for  the  last  six  weeks.  He  remarked,  however :  "  There 
are  twenty-two  States  whose  Legislatures  are  now  in  session,  some 
of  which  will  adjourn  within  two  or  three  weeks.  It  is  very  de- 
sirable, if  this  amendment  is  to  be  adopted,  that  it  should  go  forth 
to  be  acted  upon  by  the  Legislatures  now  in  session.  It  proposes 
to  change  the  present  basis  of  representation  to  a  representation 
upon  all  persons,  with  the  proviso  that  wherever  any  State  excludes 
a  particular  class  of  persons  from  the  elective  franchise,  that  State 
to  that  extent  shall  not  be  entitled  to  be  presented  in  Congress. 
It  does  not  deny  to  the  States  the  right  to  regulate  the  elective 
franchise  as  they  please ;  but  it  does  say  to  a  State, '  If  you  ex- 
clude from  the  right  of  suffrage  Frenchmen,  Irishmen,  or  any  par- 
ticular class  of  people,  none  of  that  class  of  persons  shall  be 
counted  in  fixing  your  representation  in  this  House.  You  may 
allow  them  to  vote  or  not,  as  you  please ;  but  if  you  do  allow 
them  to  vote,  they  will  be  counted  and  represented  here ;  while 
if  you  do  not  allow  them  to  vote,  no  one  shall  be  authorized  to 
represent  them  here;  they  shall  be  excluded  from  the  basis  of 
representation.' " 

As  indicative  of  the  apparent  harmony  of  sentiments  prevailing 
on  the  question,  Mr.  Wilson  said  that  the  Committee  on  the 
Judiciary  had  determined  to  report  a  proposition  substantially 
identical  with  that  offered  by  Mr.  Stevens. 

It  was  deemed  important  to  have  the  joint  resolution  passed 
as  soon  as  possible,  that  it  might  go  before  the  State  Legislatures 
then  in  session  for  their  ratification  before  their  adjournment. 
The  member  who  had  the  measure  in  charge  desired,  after  one  or 
two  speeches  on  either  side,  to  have  the  question  put  to  vote,  and 
have  the  resolution  passed  before  the  sun  went  down.  Such 
action,  however,  seemed  to  the  House  too  hasty,  and  a  discussion 
of  the  measure  was  entered  upon,  which  ran  through  many  days. 
Mr.  Eogers,  a  member  of  the  committee,  offered  a  minority 
report,  and  addressed  the  House  in  opposition  to  the  proposed 
amendment  of  the  Constitution.     He  thus  presented  his  view  of 


326  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

the  object  of  the  measure  proposed :  "  It  appears  to  have  in  its 
body,  in  its  soul,  and  in  its  life  only  one  great  object  and  aim ; 
that  is,  to  debase  and  degrade  the  white  race,  and  to  place  upon 
a  higher  footing  than  the  white  men  are  placed,  under  the  Con- 
stitution, this  African  race.  It  is  a  proposition  to  change  the 
organic  law  of  the  land  with  regard  to  one  of  the  fundamental 
principles  which  was  laid  down  by  our  fathers  at  the  formation 
of  the  Constitution  as  an  axiom  of  civil  and  political  liberty,  that 
taxation  and  representation  should  always  go  together.  If  gentle- 
men will  examine  this  proposed  amendment  of  the  Constitution, 
they  will  see  that  it  is  in  violation  of  that  great  doctrine  which 
was  proclaimed  by  the  fathers  of  the  republic  when  they  enun- 
ciated the  Declaration  of  Independence,  and  protested  against 
the  tyranny  and  despotism  of  England,  because  she  attempted  to 
tax  the  people  of  the  colonies  without  allowing  them  representa- 
tion in  the  councils  of  the  kingdom.  The  amendment  now  under 
consideration  proposes  the  very  same  identical  thing  that  the 
Parliament  of  England  proposed  when  it  attempted  to  inflict 
upon  the  American  colonies  taxation  without  allowing  the  people 
of  the  colonies  to  have  representatives  in  the  Parliament  of  Eng- 
land to  represent  them  ujjon  the  question  whether  they  should  be 
taxed  by  the  mother  country  or  not. 

"  The  first  objection  I  have  to  the  passage  of  this  joint  resolution 
is,  that  it  is  violative  of  the  main  principle  upon  which  the  Revo- 
lutionary War  was  conducted,  and  which  induced  our  fathers  to 
enter  the  harbors  of  Boston  and  New  York  and  throw  the  tea 
into  the  water.  Because  the  British  people  attempted  to  inflict 
taxation  upon  them  with  regard  to  that  tea,  and  refused  to  allow 
them  representation  in  the  Parliament  of  England,  our  fathers 
rebelled  against  their  mother  country.  What  has  come  over  the 
fortunes  and  happiness  of  the  people  of  this  country  that  the 
great  principle  of  the  Constitution  should  now  be  violated,  that 
principle  for  which  our  fathers  spilt  their  blood  to  sustain,  the 
great  axiom  of  American  liberty,  that  taxation  never  should  be 
imposed  upon  a  people  unless  that  people  have  a  corresponding 
representation?  If  this  amendment  to  the  Constitution  should 
be  carried  into  effect,  it  will  prevent  any  State,  North  or  South, 
from  allowing  qualified  suffrage  to  its  colored  population,  except 
upon  forfeiture  of  representation  ;  and  if  qualified  suffrage  should 
be  allowed  to  the  colored  population  of  any  State  in  this  Union, 


BASIS  OF  REPRESENTATION.  827 

on  account  of  race  of  color,  and  but  one  single  negro  should  be 
deprived  of  his  vote  by  failure  to  meet  the  requirements  of  the 
qualification  imposed,  that  State  would  be  denied  representation 
for  the  whole  of  that  colored  population — men,  women,  and 
children. 

"  More  than  that :  this  bill  attempts,  in  an  indirect  manner,  to 
have  passed  upon,  by  the  Legislatures  of  the  different  States,  a 
question  which  the  party  in  power  dare  not  boldly  and  openly 
meet  before  the  people  o#this  country,  because  there  can  be  but 
one  object  lying  at  the  foundation  of  this  bill— an  object  which 
has  been  explained  and  expatiated  upon  in  this  House — and  that 
object,  as  I  have  said,  is,  through  the  Federal  power,  to  force  the 
States  to  adopt  unqualified  negro  suffrage,  by  holding  over  them 
the  penalty   of  being   deprived  of  representation   according  to 

population. 

"  But  I  object  to  this  joint  resolution  upon  another  ground— 
upon  the  same  ground  that  I  objected  to  the  passage  of  the 
Negro  Suffrage  Bill  for  the  District  of  Columbia— without  con- 
sulting the  people.  It  has  been  said  in  this  country  that  all 
power  emanates  from  the  people.  And  I  say  that  to  submit 
this  grave  question  to  the  consideration  and  decision  of  partisan 
Legislatures  in  the  different  States— Legislatures  which  were 
elected  without  any  regard  to  tins  question— is  violative  of  the 
great  principles  which  lie  at  the  foundations  of  the  liberties  of 
this  country ;  that  no  organic  law,  affecting  the  whole  people, 
should  be  passed  before  submitting  it  to  the  people  for  their  rati- 
fication or  rejection.  Now  this  joint  resolution  proposes  simply 
to  submit  this  amendment  for  ratification  to  the  Legislatures  of 
the  different  States.  The  Legislatures  are  not  the  States;  the 
Legislatures  are  not  the  people  in  their  sovereign  capacity;  Leg- 
islatures are  not  the  source  from  which  all  power  emanates.  But 
the  people,  the  sacred  people,  in  the  exercise  of  their  sovereign 
power,  either  at  the  ballot-box  or  in  conventions,  are  the  only 
true  and  proper  forum  to  which  such  grave  and  serious  questions 
should  be  submitted. 

"  I  maintain  that  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  as  it 
now  exists,  is  not  as  liberal  toward  the  Southern  States,  now  that 
slavery  has  been  abolished,  as  it  was  before  the  abolition  of 
slavery.  Why,  sir,  in  the  days  of  the  past,  under  our  Constitu- 
tion, the  Southern  States  have  been  allowed  a  representation  for 


328  THE  THIRTY-NINTH  CONGRESS. 

a  population  that  was  not  classed  as  citizens  or  people ;  they  were 
allowed  a  representation  for  people  who  had  no  political  status  in 
the  State;  persons  who  were  not  entitled  even  to  exercise  the 
right  of  coming  into  a  court  of  civil  justice  as  a  plaintiff  or 
defendant  in  the  prosecution  or  defense  of  a  suit. 

"Now,  after  the  raging  fires  of  war  have  swept  from  the 
domain  of  every  State  in  the  South  the  pernicious  institution  of 
slavery;  after  the  result  has  been  that  every  slave  has  received 
his  freedom ;  after  the  slaves  have  gaiifed  more  by  the  success  of 
this  war  than  any  other  class  of  people  in  the  United  States,  white 
men,  men  who  are  the  representatives  of  the  white  race,  come 
here  proposing  to  compel  the  States,  on  pain  of  being  deprived  of 
a  portion  of  their  representation,  to  allow  all  the  negroes  within 
their  limits  to  vote,  without  regard  to  qualification  or  any  thing 
else,  while  under  the  same  provision  the  State  may,  by  its  organic 
law,  impose  qualifications  and  conditions  upon  the  exercise  of  the 
right  of  suffrage  by  the  white  population.  The  proposed  amend- 
ment to  the  Constitution  undertakes  to  consolidate  the  power  in 
the  Federal  Government.  It  throws  out  a  menace  to  the  States, 
and  the  inevitable  result  of  the  passage  would  be  to  induce  every 
State  in  the  Union  to  adopt  unqualified  negro  suffrage,  so  as  not 
to  deprive  them  of  the  great  and  inestimable  right  of  representa- 
tion for  that  class  of  population  in  the  halls  of  the  legislation  of 
the  United  States." 

Mr.  Conkling,  also  a  member  of  the  Reconstruction  Committee, 
made  an  argument  in  favor  of  the  proposed  amendment :  "  Eman- 
cipation vitalizes  only  natural  rights,  not  political  rights.  En- 
franchisement alone  carries  with  it  political  rights,  and  these 
emancipated  millions  are  no  more  enfranchised  now  than  when 
they  were  slaves.  They  never  had  political  power.  Their  mas- 
ters had  a  fraction  of  power  as  masters.  But  there  are  no  masters 
now.  There  are  no  slaves  now.  The  whole  relationship  in  which 
the  power  originated  and  existed  is  gone.  Does  this  fraction  of 
power  still  survive  ?  If  it  does,  what  shall  become  of  it  ?  "Where 
is  it  to  go? 

"We  are  told  the  blacks  are  unfit  to  wield  even  a  fraction  of 
power,  and  must  not  have  it.  That  answers  the  whole  question. 
If  the  answer  be  true,  it  is  the  end  of  controversy.  There  is  no 
place,  logically,  for  this  power  to  go,  save  to  the  blacks ;  if  they 
are  unfit  to  have  it,  the  power  would  not  exist.     It  is  a  power 


BASIS  OF  REPRESENTATION.  329 

astray,  without  a  rightful  owner.  It  should  be  resumed.by  the 
whole  nation  at  once.  It  should  not  exist;  it  does  not  exist. 
This  fractional  power  is  extinct. 

"  A  moral  earthquake  has  turned  fractions  into  units,  and  units 
into  ciphers.  If  a  black  man  counts  at  all  now,  he  counts  five- 
fifths  of  a  man,  not  three-fifths.  Revolutions  have  no  such  frac- 
tions in  their  arithmetic ;  war  and  humanity  join  hands  to  blot 
them  out.  Four  millions,  therefore,  and  not  three-fifths  of  four 
millions,  are  to  be.  reckoned  in  here  now,  and  all  these  four  mill- 
ions are,  and  arc  to  be,  we  are  told,  unfit  for  political  existence. 

"Did  the  framers  of  the  Constitution  ever  dream  of  this? 
Never,  very  clearly.  Our  fathers  trusted  to  gradual  and  volun- 
tary emancipation,  which  would  go  hand  in  hand  with  education 
and  enfranchisement.  They  never  peered  into  the  bloody  epoch 
when  four  million  fetters  would  be  at  once  melted  off  in  the  fires 
of  war.  They  never  saw  such  a  vision  as  we  see.  Four  millions, 
each  a  Caspar  Hauser,  long  shut  up  in  darkness,  and  suddenly 
led  out  into  the  full  flash  of  noon,  and  each,  we  are  told,  too 
blind  to  walk,  politically.  No  one  foresaw  such  an  event,  and  so 
no  provision  was  made  for  it.  The